task force officers provide assistance to local police departments on drug crime. Local police departments offer tips and leads on cases for the drug task force to investigate. Drug task force seizures of equipment and money are often shared with local police departments.
Collaboration with prosecutors
After an arrest is made, a prosecutor must decide whether there is enough evidence to move forward with the case. Standards for evidence are high, often creating frustration for drug task force officers who spend a great deal of time and effort pursuing and building a strong case.
Some prosecutors want videotaped evidence of undercover drug buys, as well as a confession, both of which can be difficult to obtain, officers said. In addition, Illinois laws on eavesdropping make it harder for the drug task forces to collect evidence because warrants are needed to audio-record.
In some Illinois counties, drug prosecution units work with drug task forces to prosecute offenders and conduct forfeitures. In fiscal year 2011, eight drug prosecution units were funded by ICJIA to work with drug task forces (Adams, 2012). Seven counties had a designated drug prosecution unit—Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, St. Clair, and Will. In addition, the State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor oversaw drug prosecutors in 11 counties: Champaign, Jefferson, Kankakee, Macon, Madison, McLean, Peoria, Rock Island, Sangamon, Tazewell, and Winnebago (Adams, 2012).
Collaboration with parole
Some drug task forces have relationships with parole departments —assisting with “sweeps” or compliance checks when officers search residences for drugs. When sentenced to parole, parolees sign a consent allowing parole agents to enter their home. Due to high caseloads, parole agents find it difficult to visit and arrest parolees who are not in compliance with court orders. Officers reported having great success with parolee sweeps. In addition, sometimes parole officers grant the drug task force’s permission to approach certain parolees as informants.
Collaboration with federal agencies
Drug task forces work with federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These agencies receive intelligence from the drug task forces. At times, federal agencies will pursue the cases state’s attorneys decide not to prosecute. Officers reported a positive and fruitful relationship with these agencies.
Collaboration within the community
Drug task forces collaborate with drug treatment facilities, including forming partnerships to advocate for funding for offender treatment. While some treatment facilities will not communicate with drug task force officers for fear of violating Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules, officers said they are only interested in gathering information
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