Support the Force

THE BELMONT County Drug Task Force is making a positive impact.

Bethesda Police Chief Tim Zdanski pioneered the task force and served as its leader until his untimely death earlier this year. Zdanksi’s expert work was well-documented and widely heralded.

His death could have resulted a loss in efficiency by the drug task force. Such has not been the case as Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland has flourished in the role of Zdanksi’s successor.

The task force has been in existence for five years. The drug-fighting unit has made a marked impact during that time.

“What they’ve accomplished in that short period of time is nothing short of amazing,” Belmont County Prosecutor Berhalter said. “They’ve done it on a shoestring budget.”

That budget get a littler healthier this week when the Belmont County Commissioners showed some added support by donating $6,500 to task-force operations. Commissioners hope to make a yearly donation of this kind for as long as is feasible.

We view that as money well spent.

The financial and verbal support exhibited by the commissioners and prosecutor reflects the cooperation which helps make the drug task force so effective. The squad is composed of officers from various law enforcement agencies throughout the county.

It truly is a team effort. Some dozen officers give their time and crime-fighting passion to the task force.

Belmont County is fortunate to have such a crack drug-busting force, and one led by someone as proactive as McFarland. The group’s effectiveness is fueled by such donations made by the commissioners this week. We encourage other entities and organizations to follow the commissioners’ lead.