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Supervisors approve grant to aid meth busts 

The SLO County Sheriff's Department is set to receive a $350,000 state grant for methamphetamine enforcement, after unanimous approval by the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 19.

Funded through the California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team, the grant targets meth manufacturers and traffickers who produce or sell significant quantities of the illegal drug, and aims to "disrupt and dismantle their clandestine labs and organizations," according to a report to the supervisors.

Three deputy sheriff positions will be funded through June 2007 with the grant monies, which will also be used to buy three additional undercover vehicles two SUVs and a full-size pickup large enough to tow the department's meth laboratory response trailer and carry OSHA-required personal safety equipment for each investigator.

"The risk to the public and staff during emergency responses to clandestine laboratories is too great to create a delay by not having anti-contamination equipment on hand," the report stated.

A budget submitted to the supervisors shows that the $350,000 will also be used to cover the costs of night-vision goggles ($11,259), gas meters ($9,400), rifles ($4,800), and an encrypted vehicle radio ($3,600).

County supervisors also heard repeated public testimony about the pressing need for a local drug detox center during their Dec. 12 hearing on unmet community development needs.

"I saw, as a law enforcement officer, the importance of detox," said Supervisor Jerry Lenthall, a former SLO city police officer.

He said that an effective detox center can help create less demand for law enforcement, less homelessness, and fewer health problems.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," noted Supervisor Jim Patterson.


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