The Iowa National Guard’s commander says while many of his troops are focused on fighting the war on terror, some still have their sights set on an old war — the war on drugs.
Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Ron Dardis says the Iowa Guard’s 50-person Iowa counter drug task force is a national leader and has one of the most advanced systems of information sharing anywhere to support Iowa police and sheriffs search out illegal narcotics.
Dardis says the task force helped Iowa law enforcement seize nearly 24-million dollars worth of illegal drugs last year. He also touts the guard’s anti-drug training program for high schoolers. Last year, guard soldiers spoke to seven-thousand Iowa high schoolers about just saying no to drugs, and Dardis says the program has a proven track record of helping prepare kids for the challenges of adolescence.
The guard is also training officers who’re on the front line in state and local efforts to curb the drug trade. The Midwest Counter-drug Training Center at Camp Dodge will train more than seven-thousand local and state narcotics officers this year. Half of the students will come from Iowa; the rest come from the other states and U.S. territories.
Dardis says while it’s the nation’s newest center for such training, it has already become the country’s “highest-producing” in turning out graduates. Dardis made his comments as he delivered the annual “Condition of the Guard” speech to Iowa lawmakers.