from staff reports
The Meridian Star
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) on Thursday introduced an amendment to authorize Regional Counterdrug Training Academies (RCTA) through 2019.
Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, offered the measure to the FY2013 National Defense Authorization, which is being considered in the Senate.
“Illicit drug use remains a significant problem throughout much of the country,” said Wicker in a prepared statement. “Its impact on families and communities can be devastating. Coordinated approaches from local, state, and federal entities are essential. The training that is offered to civilian law enforcement and others at the nation’s counterdrug academies exemplifies this coordinated approach and is an important tool in the effort to combat the problem at all levels.”
The Mississippi National Guard operates a training academy at Naval Air Station Meridian. It is one of five centers nationwide. Wicker toured the facility in February, meeting with leaders to discuss their work.
RCTA offers investigative support, drug demand reduction, narco-terrorism, and safety training to thousands of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials, community-based prevention professionals, and first responders around the country every year.
Wicker's news release said thousands of law enforcement officers benefit annually under this program, and that it is particularly beneficial to law enforcement officers who are located in rural areas.
Regional Counterdrug Training Academies were established in 1992 with a primary focus on civilian law enforcement officers in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Tennessee. Officers across the nation use the academies. More than 90,000 have been trained over the past 20 years. The RCTAs are congressionally funded through the Department of Defense.