As an established Omaha drug attorney, Daniel Stockmann routinely helps people who have been arrested as a result of various state and city-run programs. Particularly since Colorado changed its legislation, Nebraska has been pouring money into making as many drug busts as possible. However, new budget cuts indicate that this mentality may be on the way out.
WING has Made More than 7,000 Arrests
The Western Nebraska Intelligence & Narcotics Group, also known as WING for short, was established in 1989 to help address some of the issues occurring when tips were being forwarded only to the State Patrol’s drug division. Agencies were being overwhelmed and intel wasn’t being followed up on, allowing leads to grow cold and serious issues to fall through the cracks. To overcome this, several counties formed WING, and largely relied on state funds to keep the agency running. Over the years, WING has been involved in more than 7,000 arrests, but like most state and federally-funded programs, financial support has been dwindling.
After 28 Years, Support has Been Pulled
“The grant has been officially withdrawn by the crime commission,” Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman explained. “We’ve received these grants for the past 28 years. But last fall, the crime commission told us that drug task forces are no longer their priority.” Last fiscal year, the agency received $100,000 in grant money, and it was tentatively approved for $70,000 this year, but this has fallen by the wayside.
“The crime commission basically told us to stop asking for the funding because it isn’t the direction they want to go with the money,” Lt. Monica Shambaugh of the Nebraska State Patrol told the county board. She’s responsible for writing the grant proposals. “They think we do great work, but the commission wants to be more of a community policing organization. We don’t think our task force should be doing that.”
The Future of WING is Unclear
The news blindsided officials, who point to the agency’s award-winning track record and number of arrests as proof of its success. This isn’t enough to earn grant money these days, however. Instead, the group is expected to devote itself to more community outreach; something officials see little value in. Because WING has been able to secure funds for nearly three decades without issue, it anticipated getting the funds again this year. In fact, most agencies that work within WING have staffs and programs that are already in place. In some cases, the agencies used the grant money to pay back into their budget, so they won’t make ends meet this year if they don’t make changes. Others needed the funding up front, and there may need to be restructuring or staff reductions without the money coming in. In any case, it seems WING may well be on the way out, and there’s no telling how it will impact arrests or how investigations are carried out.
Retain an Omaha Drug Attorney
Regardless of what the future holds for WING, if you’re arrested for a substance-related charge, you’ll still need the help of an experienced lawyer. Daniel Stockmann has been serving the area for nearly two decades and brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. For a free consultation with Mr. Stockmann, call (844) 906-0641 today.