COMBAT Transition is Underway

Acting Director of COMBAT Jim Nunnelly addresses the County Legislature during its February 4 meeting.

FEBRUARY 5, 2008 -- The process has begun to transform how the Jackson County COMBAT ( COM munity B acked A nti-Drug Sales T ax) program is administered.

On February 4, the County Legislature approved the transition plan put forth by the COMBAT Review Committee. The Committee was appointed by County Executive Mike Sanders in March 2007 to review the COMBAT program structure, accomplishments, changing needs and current goals. This transition plan is based on that Committee’s recommendations.

Jim Nunnelly, COMBAT's Program Administrator since 1993 has been named the new Acting Director of COMBAT. Angela Castle, a long-time administrator with the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, will serve as Acting Program Administrator. COMBAT is a Jackson County voter-supported self-imposed ¼-cent sales tax generating approximately $20 million annually to fund an innovative strategy to combat illegal drug use through a comprehensive approach involving prevention, treatment, law enforcement and prosecution.

Jim Nunnelly

Nunnelly, the founding Program Administrator for COMBAT in Jackson County has extensive experience in public health. He has helped COMBAT adopt a collaborative approach to combating drug use, utilizing the various aspects of law enforcement, treatment and prevention. He also established the accountability guidelines for the funding of COMBAT treatment and prevention programs.

Nunnelly has worked closely with local police entities, local treatment agencies and prevention organizations. He has served on national anti-drug committees, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which focuses on improving health care for all Americans, has called on Nunnelly as a national consultant regarding community development matters. He has been employed with Jackson County for nearly 15 years.

Angela Castle

Castle has been responsible for monitoring, budgeting and managing the grant match operation in the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office for almost 10 years. Her duties have required to interact closely with the various components of the COMBAT program, including law enforcement, prosecution, treatment and prevention. She also oversees the day-to-day activities of a large full-time and contractual staff.

In addition to her administrative duties, Castle has developed a national reputation for developing effective drug prevention/youth development program.

Other steps in the transition plan include recruiting and appointing the nine new COMBAT commissioners, while also conducting a comprehensive search for a permanent Director of COMBAT. Monthly progress on the implementation of the transition plan will be presented to Jackson County legislators. Also among the first duties of the new COMBAT Commission will be formulating a long-term strategic plan.

Jackson County voters first approved the COMBAT tax in 1989 with a 69 percent majority. In 1995 voters renewed the County-wide ¼-cent sales tax with 71 percent of the vote and again in 2003 with 73 percent of the vote.

COMBAT generates approximately $20 million a year. Proceeds are allocated by the County Legislature as part of an all-encompassing anti-drug effort, including prevention, treatment, law enforcement and prosecution.

  • Currently, COMBAT funds treatment for 4,300 adolescents and adults in 23 Jackson County treatment programs. These programs provide comprehensive drug treatment services, job training, in-patient and out-patient care.

  • COMBAT provides funding for the Drug Court, an innovative approach to defer prosecution via this special court, which supervises non-violent first-time drug offenders, providing effective treatment as an alternative to incarceration.

  • COMBAT funds the Drug Abatement Response Team (DART), which has closed approximately 7,300 active drug houses in Jackson County. COMBAT also pays the salaries and benefits of more than 50 police detectives who investigate drug-related crimes in Jackson County.

  • COMBAT funds almost entirely the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program in Jackson County. Thousands of children participate in D.A.R.E. programs in Jackson County schools each year.


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