Jere Hopson, director of the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force (SCKDTF), asked magistrates Tuesday if they would help pay for an expense that was incurred the first of the year on the building which houses the task force. Some walls were added to make office space as well as an evidence room.
Hopson who is new to the task force, told the court when he came into the position work still needed to be done on the building, so he did it. He said he wasn’t aware he had to ask the fiscal court for approval first and apologized.
The new director said the labor was done by the officers themselves and the bill of $4,017 was for supplies. Hopson said when he came on the task force, the building needed offices, a larger evidence room and mentioned that the bathroom was located in his office, which meant every time someone had to use the restroom they had to walk in his office to do it, which he did not think was professional and a bit humiliating.
“I was not here when this building was purchased. It was my understanding when we were moved we would be given an adequate building,” said Hopson.
The task force, along with the sheriff’s garage, were relocated to a building located on Thurston Lane after the county sold the building they were once in to make way for a parking lot for the new justice center. The county sold the property to make way for the parking lot and promised to use part of the funds to relocate the agency and garage.
Hopson said if the court decided not to help pay the bill, he would find the funds to pay for it elsewhere, and it would not hurt his feelings. he did add that it would take away from something else like overtime for agents and vehicle maintenance.
“I can find the funds to pay for it, but it was my understanding a lot of the money that was obtained from the project (parking lot) it didn’t all go back to the task force. Quite frankly, I wasn’t going to ask you all for the money. I was going to try and find it myself,” said Hopson, adding that he always pays his bills personally and professionally.
Magistrate Thomas Bouldin said he appreciated Hopson’s honesty, but said he would not be for the county paying the total bill when there were three other agencies that made up the task force.
Logan County agreed when the task force was formed it would provide a building.
“I have a problem with doing work first before we know about it,” said Bouldin, but added he would be willing to pay 25 percent of the bill, considering there were four agencies involved in the task force. The task force is made up of Logan and Simpson Counties, Franklin and Russellville. All agencies work together by providing officers to fight illegal drugs in these communities.
Magistrate Russell Poore agreed with Bouldin saying all the other agencies involved had “skin in it too.” He said he did think there were a lot of drugs out in the communities, but hoped Hopson understood where the court was coming from.
Magistrate Jack Crossley made a motion to pay $1,017 towards the bill, which is a little over 25 percent. His motion was seconded by Poore and passed with a five to two vote with magistrate Orange and Judge Executive Logan Chick voting no. Chick said he couldn’t vote for the motion because it wasn’t in the budget.