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2017 Annual Report Final

INVESTIGATIVE Narcotics

INVESTIGATIVE Narcotics Unit OPERATIONS Narcotics is part of the Fifth Judicial Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, which is comprised of personnel from BCSO, Alcoa and Maryville Police departments, and the Office of the Attorney General. The Drug Task Force has one officer assigned full-time to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the FBI, and officers assigned part-time to task forces with TBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). In 2017, Task Force investigators apprehended 265 violators with a total of 365 charges, including 208 felonies, 137 misdemeanors, and 19 charges of investigative holds. They opened 384 cases, and executed 14 search warrants. During 2017, investigators maintained a 95% conviction rate. The nationwide opioid crisis continues to touch the lives of Blount County citizens. Over the past 10 years, the drug landscape in this country has changed, and the opioid threat (controlled prescription drugs, synthetic opioids, and heroin) are reaching epidemic levels. In addition, the crystal methamphetamine threat is still prevalent, and cocaine appears to be making a comeback. In the United States, drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death, and are at their highest ever recorded level. Much of the crystal methamphetamine that comes into the United States is smuggled across the Mexican border instead of manufactured locally. Heroin is smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico and Columbia. Over the years, federal and state governments have cracked down and restricted the availability of painkillers, and people who once relied on these narcotics began turning to heroin as an alternative. Law enforcement officials continue to see heroin laced with Fentanyl, a powerful narcotic that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is often used as a diluter for heroin, and it increases its potency. The DEA issued a nationwide warning in 2015, and as a result, many law enforcement agencies began carrying and using naloxone, a known antidote for opioid overdose. In August 2015, the Sheriff’s Office launched the program, and now all patrolman, SROs, and other front line deputies are equipped with this lifesaving medicine. In 2017, 20 deputies administered 31 doses of Naloxone to 25 overdose victims, saving the lives of 22 people. The Naloxone program was started with the help of Blount Memorial Hospital’s Substance Abuse Prevention Action Team (SAPAT). A new alarming trend law enforcement is seeing across the country is Fentanyl that is resistent to Naloxone, causing the DEA to issue yet another warning in May 2017. The Sheriff’s Office and the Fifth Judicial Drug Task, in conjunction with SAPAT, continue to participate in Drug Take Back events, held annually in the spring and fall at the Blount County Justice Center. There is also a permanent drug drop box in the 24 hour jail lobby. 18

SUPPORT OPERATIONS ADULT & JUNVEILE CORRECTIONS & COURT SERVICES Support operations includes Adult & Juvenile Corrections as well as Court Services. The Blount County Adult Correctional Facility is certified for 350 inmates. In 2017, the average daily population was 553. The facility booked in 6,243 inmates in 2017, up from 5,550 in 2016. For many years, the inmate population has steadily grown. This is not just localized, but rather a national trend. The Blount County Corrections Partnership was formed to find a solution to the overcrowding problem. They continue to study the issues. Inmates housed at the facility are from all over Tennessee. Blount County contracts with the U.S. Marshals Service to house inmates, but due to overcrowding, the numbers of these inmates has steadily decreased over the past few years. The facility also houses inmates from agencies outside of Blount County. A full-time jail investigator is assigned to look into incidents that occur in the correctional facility, as well as gather intelligence. All corrections officers receive 40 hours of in-service training each year. Tennessee Bureau Enterprise holds the contract for commissary services. Inmates utilize kiosks in intake to order commissary services. There is also a kiosk in the 24 hour jail lobby that family members of inmates can deposit money into an inmate account. This service is also available under the “How Do I” tab at bcso.com or by calling (865)836-3364. The inmate Litter Crew is instrumental in keeping Blount County’s roadways litter-free. They go out most days with the exception of inclement weather. In 2017, the crew covered 1,391 total roadway miles and picked up 403,880 pounds of litter from our roadways. The Litter Crew is made possible by way of a grant. The Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a special corrections team consisting of full-time corrections officers who use less-lethal means of control. Members deal with high-risk situations in the facility. CERT also handles crowd control, riot conditions, and security extractions of violent inmates, as well as shakedowns to search for contraband. Corrections deputies received new protective gear in 2017. All deputies assigned to corrections were issued Tasers and special stab resistant vests. All corrections deputies were also issued earpieces for their radios for privacy, making their jobs safer. In 2017, Maryville residents Bob & Eunice Hansen, longtime supporters of law enforcement, donated the funds to purchase K-9 Luna, a German Shorthair Pointer. K-9 Luna, in this photograph, is used to keep out and locate tobacco products. Deputy Skip Kindig & K-9 Luna 19

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