Operation UNITE Going Strong Despite Funding Cuts

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

Funding cuts are forcing many law enforcement agencies to scale back, but Operation UNITE officials say it will not slow them down.

Since Operation UNITE began in 2003, officers say they have confiscated more than eight million dollars worth of drugs off the streets of Eastern Kentucky, and they promise not to slow down.

Nearly 3,000 arrests later, Operation UNITE officials say they are still going strong.

"In this month of August, we had 7 roundups, we sought 96 suspects, and we're sending the message that we're still alive and well," says Dan Smoot with Operation UNITE.

Hazard Police Chief Ronnie Bryant says without Operation UNITE, many local police departments don't have the resources to fight the drug problem on their own.

"When we have a drug case, we just call Operation UNITE and they put 100 percent of their time and man power into it, which we don't have time to do that," says Ronnie Bryant.

UNITE officials say their program is improving many communities of Eastern Kentucky.

"We consider treatment to be our biggest success. When you look at Eastern Kentucky before UNITE, no facilities, four drug courts in the whole region. Now every county has drug court, there's treatment facilities popping up everywhere," says Smoot.

Smoot hopes rehabilitation will help get addicts on their feet and keep them out of jail for good.

"In the past, that was most people's excuse, that they couldn't go to treatment because they couldn't afford it. UNITE, we have a voucher program, you apply, go through some routine checks, you can receive treatment free of charge," says Smoot.

Smoot says UNITE also welcomes hundreds of volunteers wanting to get drugs out of their own communities. He says even if all of UNITE's funding was cut, the coalition would still work to keep drugs off the streets in Eastern Kentucky.

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  • by Me Location: pike county on Sep 1, 2008 at 11:18 AM
    Yeal and most of the Unite workers are drug dealers. They hire them to work for Unite and they keep doing the same thing they are used to be doing. One woman got away with conterfiet and she is still out there trying to get young boys in trouble and she is still working for Unite and feds. She uses young boys and that isnt right.
  • by Anonymous Location: whitesburg on Sep 1, 2008 at 05:02 AM
    well i see operation unite finally cleaned out dry creek and do you know two deputies live in this hollow and let this go on for years thanks nite once again for cleaning up the surronding counties now come to mine.
  • by Carrie Ann on Sep 1, 2008 at 04:56 AM
    Its time for our governer to step in, and shut down this unconsitutional police force.We no longer have the resource's to fund or house inmates.We have to many police org. the people are suffering.
  • by donny Location: ky on Aug 31, 2008 at 02:10 PM
    heck unite is doing good job ky should pay them good..not cut them..they doing a good job here..keep up the good work if u can..stuff like this i dont think they should cut,but give them a rase. i rest my case
  • by Anonymous Location: Prestonsburg on Aug 30, 2008 at 05:53 PM
    You guys are doing a wonderful job. How and were can folks make a cash donations to help keep these druggies off the streets


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