RICHMOND, VA (VR) – On August 16, 2022, Attorney General Miyares (me-YAR-ez) sent a letter to Senator Kaine, Senator Warner, Congresswoman Wexton and Congressman Cline, urging them not to cut funding for the National Guard, which would in turn cut funding, resources and staff for Virginia’s National Guard Counter Drug Units (VANG). Attorney General Miyares was joined by every Commonwealth’s Attorney and Sheriff in Southwestern Virginia, totaling 58 signatures.
“Fighting back against the opioid epidemic should be a priority of every elected official. There is not a community left untouched by opioid addiction. Cutting funding for units specifically designed to aid law enforcement in their drug investigations and prosecutions would be a step backward,” said Attorney General Miyares. “57 Southwestern Virginia leaders have joined this letter because these proposed cuts would significantly hurt their region, which is already underserved, underrepresented and has been deeply affected by the epidemic.”
The letter states that “The VANG Counter Drug Units are instrumental partners to law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Their support is especially significant to law enforcement agencies in Southwest Virginia, where most agencies do not have the budgetary resources to hire analysts. The VANG Counter Drug Units work in tandem with United States Marshals Service (USMS) offices throughout the Commonwealth to support local law enforcement agencies. These fulltime, active-duty VANG analysts are housed in USMS offices, provided necessary equipment to conduct and aid investigations, and trained by USMS staff.”
With the current budget proposal, Virginia would lose five VANG Counter Drug Unit analysts. This proposed resource cut is a determinant to both our communities and our law enforcement who are on the front lines of this epidemic, but specifically to Southwestern Virginia. If this budget moves forward, there would only be two analysts left to serve the entire Western portion of the Commonwealth.
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