A drug task force isn’t the way to go for Sidney, as determined by a presentation from local law enforcement at the most recent drug awareness coalition meeting, a new group formed by the Sidney Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs committee. The coalition was discussed during Government Affair’s recent regular meeting Wednesday, Oct. 9.

“Capt. Kraft, Chief DiFonzo and Sheriff Dynneson presented a presentation saying that we are already doing so much police work on DUIs and narcotics arrests that they do not feel doing a drug task force would be cost effective,” said Jessica Redfield, member of both committees. “They would rather see the local community, if we’re going to be doing a fundraising event or putting taxpayer money toward additional funding, they would rather see that go to specific training for narcotics.”

With clear guidance from law enforcement, Redfield said the group discussed what was next for the coalition. Kali Godfrey from Richland County Health Department attended the meeting as well and the group decided to form as an action committee under Communities in Action.

“We had a really good discussion on where we would like to see the committee to go,” Redfield said. “We have some goals we would like to accomplish.”

Those goals include mirroring Yellowstone County’s drug coalition model, sending out press releases, establishing a social media presence and holding community meetings. The group also discussed providing narcotics training for adults and other education opportunities. There has been talk about developing a “Dare-like” program geared toward youth education. Redfield said Chief of Police Frank DiFonzo expressed a desire to have more effective communication between law enforcement and area schools.

The next meeting for the action group will be Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 5:30 p.m, behind city hall in the old fire hall.

In other news

Leslie Messer, executive director of Richland Economic Development Corp (REDC), reminded the committee of the Public Service Commission meeting to discuss the closure of the Lewis and Clark Station, to take place in Helena on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 11 a.m. Citizens wishing to attend may reserve a spot on the bus arranged by REDC leaving Monday, Oct. 28. Reservations can be made by calling 406-482-4679.

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