Law enforcement team in need of state funding

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The future of a specialized law enforcement team that has made more than 500 arrests in 16 months is in question amid the state’s budget crunch.

The Jackson Enforcement Team is operating on a one-time, $3.5 million federal grant that ends in June. That money pays salaries for two special circuit judges, 16 agents, and a prosecutor and a public defender in Hinds County.

When the state introduced JET in August 2008, the plan was to use state funds to cover the program based on its success. Now, the budget situation makes it unlikely JET will see any state funding. Senate Appropriations Chairman Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo said state officials are cutting programs, not adding.

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