February 16, 2017 09:20 PM
The Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force now has more members. That's because it's merged with what once was the Boundary Waters Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.
Leaders announced the merger on Thursday. It's been in the works for the better part of a year.
Commander of the task force, Lt. Jeff Kazel of the Duluth Police Department, said that terrible news of the recent homicide in Duluth overshadows this announcement. "But it's tragedies like these that give reason to form the partnership we have here."
The new task force is responsible for the largest task force area in the state, with more than 12,000 square miles, encompassing St. Louis, Lake, Carlton, and Douglas County in Wisconsin.
It includes 13 police departments, 3 sheriff's offices, and four state and federal agencies.
Kazel said the merger means better intelligence and investigating powers, since criminals are working throughout the region. And the merger will mean more eligibility for funding.
Sheriff Ross Litman said he was at first skeptical about what combining forces would mean. But now he sees it as a positive for the good guys, and a negative for the bad ones.
"The message we're all hoping we will send today, is that if you plan on coming here, to commit crimes, we're going to stop you. We will do our best," Litman said.
Updated: February 16, 2017 09:20 PM
Created: February 16, 2017 04:51 PM
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