EAST WENATCHEE — The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is rejoining the Columbia River Drug Task Force.

The sheriff’s office left the regional drug enforcement unit in 2005 after the task force lost federal funding. On Tuesday, Sheriff Kevin Morris announced in a news release the department would return to the task force, but not before hiring a new deputy.

Douglas County commissioners added funding to the 2020 budget to allow the sheriff’s office to add a 32nd commissioned officer. Once the new deputy is trained and working patrol shifts, the sheriff’s office will send a detective to the Columbia River Drug Task Force.

“We’re not taking anybody off the street until that position is filled,” Morris said in an interview.

The task force is comprised of detectives from the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Wenatchee Police Department, East Wenatchee Police Department and Washington State Patrol.

The task force was created in 1991 and nearly disbanded in 2005 after it saw its federal funding cut and lost representatives from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, East Wenatchee Police and State Patrol.

Pete O’Cain: 664-7152

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