BEDFORD — Lawrence County is taking a new approach in the fight against drug trafficking.

This week, Lawrence County County Prosecutor Sam Arp announced the formation of a Highway Interdiction Team.

Part of the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Task Force, the team is a joint effort between the prosecutor’s office, Mitchell Police Department, Seymour Police Department, the Indiana Attorney General and the Indiana Drug Enforcement Association.

In addition, the team will also partner with members of the Indiana National Guard Counter Narcotic Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the national Drug Enforcement Administration.

“This is the first time that Lawrence County has the ability to coordinate its efforts with state, federal and other area law enforcement agencies in such a manner that will target a specific problem our community is facing,” said Arp in a news release. “Lawrence County has never had such resources available to them at one specific time.”

Officers on the team will be solely dedicated to finding illegal drugs that are being transported on the road. Mitchell and Seymour officers will patrol as a team in both Lawrence and Jackson counties.

“Drugs are not manufactured and consumed strictly at the county level,” Arp said. “Drug trafficking has a broad reach that often extends past county lines. It only makes sense to join forces with other out-of-county agencies that are putting forth a dedicated effort that will allow us to connect the dots and take down major drug traffickers.”

Arp credits Mitchell Mayor JD England for the creation of the task force, according to the news release.

“I had the vision, I found the money, but every police department was giving me the same answer, we don’t have the manpower,” Arp said.

Once England committed Mitchell police to the project, Arp said he had a stronger argument for getting other departments involved.

“JD stated, ‘Mitchell really needs this, I’ll figure out a way to make it happen.’”

Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott was “very receptive” of the idea, the release stated.

The Indiana Drug Enforcement Association, which received funding from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, will provide Mitchell’s department with a $61,000 check to purchase needed equipment and pay for the initial training that’s needed for the officers to take part in the project.

The task force will become the 15th dedicated team in the state with this funding, and there are no other funded teams southern Indiana, according to the news release.

“I am certain that this task force will have a tremendous impact on our county’s drug problem ... but I will forever be grateful to Mitchell Mayor JD England and Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott for sharing my vision...” Arp said.

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