Compared with a flurry of arrests made at the end of 2006, this year has been relatively low-key for the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotic Enforcement Team.
But now with re-organization efforts completed and a new name and mission established, the drug task force is primed to re-focus its efforts on combating the flow of street level drugs, task force commander Garrett Wiggins said.
"It might be all quiet on the home front for six months, or even a year, and then all of the sudden you might hear about 50 arrests," Wiggins said.
On Monday, law enforcement officers from Craig, Steamboat Springs, Hayden and the Moffat County and Jackson County sheriff's offices announced that GRAMNET has changed its name.
The task force now will be known as the All Crimes Enforcement Team, a decision unanimously reached by the task force's executive board.
Along with the new moniker comes a new mission.
The task force has altered its mission statement, adding flexibility to investigate additional major crimes -- other than narcotics violations -- stemming from task force investigations.
Wiggins said the changes give the task force a clean slate and a new beginning.
"We felt like with all the changes being made, we needed a change from the bottom up," he said. "We wanted to start out fresh and new."
Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall, Wiggins' opponent in the November 2006 sheriff's election, made the decision in February to withdraw GRAMNET funding, questioning the task force's tactics and results. That decision, Wiggins said, precipitated the name change and thus, re-organizing the unit's structure and direction.
Earlier this month, the task force moved from its Craig office to a spot in Hayden in exchange for the town's monetary contribution.
Citing that an estimated 80 to 85 percent of all crimes committed are drug related, Wiggins said the ACET's primary objective is "to continue investigating illicit drug dealers that plague our communities with their illegal, life-destroying substances, as well as actively investigate all other related crimes."
"Our main mission is still going to be to target the illegal drug world out there," Wiggins said.
He added, "ACET will work effectively with community leaders and law enforcement agencies with the main goal of keeping our communities the safe and wonderful place we all call home."
Wiggins said the first few months of the year have been centered on re-organization efforts and getting the "operation up and running smoothly."
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.