Funding for meth lab clean-up cut from local law enforcement - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Funding for meth lab clean-up cut from local law enforcement

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Sheriff's deputies are used to calling haz-mat crews to clean up dangerous meth lab chemicals.

But they're not used to footing the bill.

"Basic clean-up starts at $1,500," says Captain Mark Thompson with the Montgomery Sheriff's Department.

Thompson says when he got the news the federal government has stopped paying for meth lab clean-up crews, "everybody went scrambling."

He says because the county's budget is already tight, "we're going to have to cut something short to cover this downfall in the meth lab clean-up."

"If the federal government was funding this they need to continue to do that and let the local government take care of what they can here on the budget that they have without added pressure," says Glinda Perkins.

Perkins believes the burden falls on more than just law enforcement...it hits the taxpayers, too.

"That means that our local government would have to be trained to do that which costs even more money."

State narcotics officers say 1,200 meth labs were found in Alabama last year. Half of them were in Walker County.

"It could bankrupt the county.  In a matter of months, the amount of labs, it could bankrupt the county," says Adam Hadder with the Walker County Drug Task Force.

"It's scary, yes," says Montgomery resident, Betty Norris.

Thompson says the clean up will continue even without the federal funds--anything to keep residents safe.

"They are strapped, but I think they can handle it if they have to," says Norris.

"It does concern me because it is growing," adds Perkins.

Captain Thompson says he's already come up with a plan to use his own deputies to transport the chemicals. But, he adds they won't be able to buy as much equipment for other departments since that money will go towards cleaning up the meth labs.

Montgomery County sheriff's deputies say it takes an average of eight hours to clean up a meth lab. They found 3 in the county last year.

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