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.
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.