Those who would traffic illegal drugs through Dallas County are indirectly responsible for completion of a safety upgrade to patrol cars in the City of Adel.

Adel Police Chief Jim McNeill said the last of $15,000 drug forfeiture money, given the city by Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard, has been spent to install new Mobile Data Terminals (MDT) – computers – in the city’s five patrol cars.

"The city was able to use part of those funds (presented to the city about two years ago) to update the interview rooms with audio and video capabilities," McNeill said. "We’d been looking for ways to utilize the balance of those funds and decided the best use would be to put the money toward purchase of these Mobile Data Terminals."

McNeill noted that use of drug forfeiture funds is limited to use on projects that are not budgeted by the city.

"We wouldn’t have these (MDTs) if it weren’t for the Sheriff and the drug forfeiture fund," McNeill said.

Leonard said the drug forfeiture funds come from a number of sources, including interdiction projects around the county – many of them along Interstate-80 – and both the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Task Force and the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement (MINE). Dallas County participates in both agencies.

"We have one (county) deputy assigned to the DEA and the majority of the cost to Dallas County for that officer is offset by the DEA," Leonard said. "In return, we also get a percentage of forfeiture dollars from cases in which he participates within the county.

"We also have a deputy who is a drug detective working three days for the county and two with MINE."

At the time drug forfeiture funds were distributed, Leonard said, each police department in the county received money with the amounts ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the size of the department.

As for the funds used to put the new MDTs in the Adel patrol cars, Leonard said that "Chief McNeill and I partner in many projects and investigations throughout the area. We all need to be helping each other out."

McNeill said that installation of the MDTs accounted for the last of the Sheriff’s "generous contribution."

"I am very appreciative of the Sheriff’s support, as is the City of Adel," McNeill said. "The City frankly doesn’t have the tax base to provide all the technology needed. Technology is always changing and we just can’t keep up in order to have all the most modern technology all the time.

"We had this money for some time and we felt installing MDTs in our patrol cars was the best project for protection of both our officers and the citizenry."

Leonard added that "it’s definitely great for officers to have this technology at their fingertips."