By Alyssa Schnugg
Last week, the Oxford Board of Aldermen voted to approve the 2020-2021 interlocal agreement.
The agreement states that the city of Oxford, Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi will each pay $150,000 annually in order to help the Lafayette County Metro Narcotics Unit effectively enforce the criminal laws of Mississippi regarding controlled substances. The agreement is voted on annually by the Board of Aldermen, Lafayette County Board of Supervisors and the University of Mississippi.
The Lafayette County Metro Narcotics Unit was formed in 1988 under the then-name Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit.
Today, like in 1988, it is lead by the heads of the Oxford Police Department, University Police Department and the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department and is funded through grants and equal allotments by all three law enforcement organizations.
The task force has one full-time secretary and four full-time investigators including the Officer in Charge, or Commander, who is currently Alex Fauver. He reports directly to Sheriff Joey East.
OPD Chief Jeff McCutchen, or his designee, serves as Project Coordinator. The Control Group, which assigns personnel, sets policy for the task force operations, determines fund distribution and prioritizes targets for investigation.
The unit only has the power and authority granted to the sheriff by state statute in regards to the enforcement of criminal laws regarding controlled substances, while investigators may only exercise the power and authority given to it by the Control Group.
The Narcotics Unit operates independently from the sheriff’s department and police departments; however, the agreement states that investigators will exchange intelligence among the three law enforcement agencies as needed.