Search begins for new drug task force director

Chris Cooper Managing Editor

January 13, 2014

Board members of the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force (SCKDTF) met last week to discuss preparations of hiring a new leader for the force. The director will serve both Logan and Simpson counties, as well as the cities of Russellville and Franklin. The position became open when Jere Hopson left as director after he was assigned to the position of Simpson County Sheriff. Hopson took over as director in December of 2012 when former director Jerry Smith retired from the post. The force’s first director was Jim Devasher, followed up by Smith, then Hopson. The task force office is located in Russellville. Logan County owns the current building the task force works out of, but does not charge any rent.

The task force became operational in the summer of 2004, at that time Butler County was part of the area covered along with Logan and Simpson Counties and Franklin and Russellville. The force was designed to work deep inside the areas acting upon strong leads and cooperatively battling illegal drug activity in South Central Kentucky. Funding for operations comes from federal grant monies, and agents are loaned out from the local police forces.

Those who govern the task force will hire the new director. The board includes both judge executives for Logan and Simpson Counties, the mayors for Franklin and Russellville, the sheriffs for both counties and the Franklin and Russellville city police chiefs.

Anticipated pay for the position, a secretary, and other added expenses comes to $115,000, which is $35,000 less than what it used to be.

All three previous directors have been retirees from the Kentucky State Police, however, that is not a set criteria for the position. Judge Executive Logan Chick said the board will be placing an advertisement in several media sources to seek a new director. He said it may take awhile to find the best candidate to fit the job.

“Simpson County’s Judge Executive and sheriff’s department have agreed to take on the administrative duties of the task force for two months while we search for a new director,” said Chick. “This gives us plenty of time to find the right one.” Chick added that once the board gets a list of candidates, they will interview them and select one from that group.

“We met last week and went over the job qualifications and we all came to a general consensus. We made a few changes to the job requirements, one involving where the future director lives,” said Chick. “We want the task force director to live either in Logan or Simpson county.”

The board is gearing up to meet again soon and then, said Chick, an advertisement will be released.