Drug Task Force receives good audit report
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Jul 06, 2014 | 950 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force has had a good report for the past two years, and its leaders believe that can be sustained. Five other DTF districts in the state received corrective action reports from the Tennessee State Comptroller’s Office. However,

According to DTF Director Steve Lawson, he received the report last week. The report from the office of Justin P. Wilson was a review of funds administered by each district attorney general’s office and DTFs within their districts.

Thirty-one districts were listed. Multiple county and city law enforcement leaders within the districts typically make up the boards which oversee operations along with the attorney general offices and appointed DTF director for their district.

10th Judicial District Attorney General Steve Crump, who took office early due to the retirement of former head prosecutor Steve Bebb, said Lawson has worked hard to make sure the DTF follows guidelines he implemented, making improvements in documentation and communication between each agent, following protocol in all areas.

“For the last two years we have had no findings (relating to the audit), and you strive to get to that point. We feel good about it,” Lawson said.

“I enjoyed driving the ship here and steering it for our people here. They are good people. We work to make sure all the bases are covered, and that is reflected in the past two audits,” he added.

Documentation is very important regarding purchases or case work.

Lawson has placed many checks and balances under his direction.

He also formed a communications committee with members of the district board who help oversee operations and if approval of items needs to be done without a full board vote.

“I asked the board to form the committee, which consists of the DAG and two members who can between quarterly board meetings make decisions on approvals, if needed. That is another check and balance,” Lawson explained.

His agents have named him the “King of Documentation,” he said.

Lawson said vehicle or property seizures are cleared through the court. His office continues to hold property for a time after the seizure to make sure all loose ends are covered.

Lawson and Crump both see a good future for the 10th Judicial Drug Task Force’s way of conducting business and accountability.

“I believe the DTF has had good leadership during the past four years, and the audits show that. With this leadership and the checks and balances in place, I am optimistic of the future of this important law enforcement agency’s fight against drug trafficking in our district and beyond,” Crump said.

One of the threats in the communities today is prescription misuse, which can lead to offenders who commit prescription fraud, according to Lawson.

“Not necessarily in our district, but other areas are seeing an increase in heroin use as well,” he added.

“Most people think methamphetamine is our biggest drug problem right now, but the prescription fraud is worse at this point,” said Lawson.

Lawson said one of the best things the District Attorney General’s Conference has done was institute better administrative training across the districts. The training is interactive, according to Lawson.

“We have taken steps in the right direction, and it shows here,” Lawson said, “General Crump in the future may have some good ideas as well as we move forward, and I feel good about where this agency is today,” Lawson said.

According to the Comptroller’s report, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd districts along with the 23rd district and 31st district all received corrective action recommendations.