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Wicker: Pres. Obama’s Budget Closes Guard-Operated Drug Training in Meridian

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Drug training for law enforcement and military personnel could end soon under Pres. Obama’s proposed national budget, said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) Tuesday. The budget would eliminate funding for the National Guard Regional Counterdrug Training Academies. One of five in the country is located in Mississippi.

Wicker did not say how many jobs would be lost, but the big loss, he said, would be the training that the academies provide.

“These schools have the unique mission of providing law enforcement agencies, community-based organizations and military personnel with training and support to enhance their capabilities to detect, interdict and disrupt and curtail drug trafficking,” he said in a hearing in Washington.

“I have visited Meridian,” said Gen. Frank Grass, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. “These facilities have trained over 600,000 law enforcement agents since they were established.”

Wicker said that funding these academies should not be a burden to the federal government and that their benefit outweighs the cost.

“The regional training academy in Meridian is an outstanding facility with a world-class faculty,” said Wicker. “It costs roughly $5 million each year to run all five of our RCTA schools. This is an excellent value for a rather modest investment to ensure our public safety and national security.”

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