Clark-Skamania drug task force loses detective, gets new name




The regional drug task force is operating under a new name after the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office pulled its detective out of the program for budget reasons.

The unit, which now operates as the Clark-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force, is refocusing on Clark County.

Skamania County Sheriff Dave Brown said his office couldn’t afford to keep a detective on the task force.

“It came down to some budget issues for us this year,” he said

The detective worked with personnel from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Vancouver Police Department and Washington State Patrol, said Cmdr. Mike Cooke, of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Cooke, who supervises the unit, said it is made of eight sworn officers — Cooke, two sergeants and five detectives — and four support staff, including two financial investigators, a legal secretary and a support secretary. He said all the sworn officers work in the field.

The loss of the detective won’t switch things up too much, Cooke said. In the past the unit worked a lot of cases based in Clark County, which has more drug activity because of its higher population.

“The reality is, almost all of the cases we work have crossover into other jurisdictions,” he said.

That means Skamania deputies could call for assistance in an investigation or vice versa, Cooke said.

Task forces all over the state are “doing more with less,” Cooke said. He estimates the biggest effect will be having one less body to cover for others during vacations.