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NTF seeking high-tech additions to arsenal

January 22, 1998

The commander of Washington County's drug task force plans to ask for new surveillance equipment in the budget request he is preparing.

Sgt. Charles Summers said a top-of-the-line camera could record in total darkness and reproduce images in full color.

But at $20,000, the equipment may be a bit out of reach, Summers said.

He said he might have to make due with less expensive equipment.

Summers said the camera is needed to replace old surveillance equipment. The Washington County Narcotics Task Force and Hagerstown City Police drug officers who work closely with him routinely videotape evidence, he said.

The surveillance equipment likely will be the biggest new item in the capital budget request Summers is preparing.

He anticipates requesting a moderate increase over the current $200,000 in the operating budget.

Half of the funds to support NTF operations come out of the Washington County budget and half from the City of Hagerstown.

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That budget pays for all of the task force's supplies, office equipment, two secretaries, and an assistant state's attorney who prosecutes drug cases, salaries of the four sheriff's deputies and three police officers on the task force.

The county's drug agents just completed a record year, with more than 250 cases. In 1996, previously a record year, the agency did not crack 200, Summers said.

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