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Home  |  News  |  Richland County's war on drugs has a team

Richland County's war on drugs has a team
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - On the front lines of Richland County's war on drugs, you'll find the Drug Suppression team.

"Everything we're dealing with is the high speed element of the criminal world," Deputy Adam Cornwell said.

The team is composed of six deputies who are only focused on drugs -- users and dealers.

"They're fast and that's what makes them so effective," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. "They're a quick reaction team."

Lott started the team 7 years ago after seeing a similar unit at work in Philadelphia. Many times, drug complaints that land on the sheriff's desk end with the team paying a visit.

"It's a good area of law enforcement to learn how to police in," Cornwell said. "It is relatively dangerous, but learning how to police around that kind of stuff gets you to treat everything in a real careful manner."

Cornwell says it's the kind of high-speed work that got him into law enforcement. They go after street-level crime while leaving long-term cases to the narcotics investigators.

"They're going for these people here, the ones you may not see, these people here you can't ignore them -- selling from a house or street corner. Those are the ones we have to put emphasis on also," Lott said.

On Friday, the team hit a house near MLK Park in Columbia after an undercover drug buy. They charged Randall Sims with possession of crack with intent to distribute.

"Whether we get somebody with a little drugs or a lot of drugs, it's a good mark for the good guys, and it sets the bad guys back a little bit farther," Cornwell said. "So it's always good whether it's a little or a whole lot."

Lott says he's a little jealous of the team.

"If there's any job that I'd want to do it'd be to do what they're doing, they're out there, they're active. They're chasing the bad guys and taking the drugs off the street, they're making an impact every single day," Lott said.

Each member of that unit is hand-picked by Lott and they stay busy. In the past 7 years, they've made thousands of arrests and seized more than $1 million in drugs.

Source: http://www.wistv.com/story/18698909/richland-countys-war-on-drugs-has-a-team

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