Local law enforcement goes to D.C. for National Police Week

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Published: May. 16, 2023 at 7:47 PM CDT
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ODESSA-MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) -Local Law enforcement made its way to Washington D.C. for National Police Week.

Odessa Chief of Police, Michael Gerke and Midland County Sheriff David Criner, were at the subcommittee.

This committee engages with state and local authorities across America to fight crime and terrorism, as well as prepare for disaster response.

The committee asked Chief Gerke about what issues law enforcement faces in the Permian Basin, in regard to drugs, crime, human trafficking and more.

“This committee has an important role to play as we oversee the department of homeland security which looks to support, let me say that again, support state and local tribal territorial law enforcement agencies and their efforts to keep our communities safe, secure and resilient.” said Congressman August Pfluger.

one of the biggest concerns that Chief Gerke spoke about was the amount of fentanyl in the area.

He mentions that this deadly drug is killing the cities youth and harming officers.

“We’ve seen 12-year-olds, to 19-year-olds to 60-year-olds, who have overdosed on fentanyl. We’re at the point in law enforcement that we have issued narcan or other types of antidotes to every one of our officers.” said Odessa Chief of Police, Michael Gerke.

But another issue he mentioned was also human trafficking.

“I know just sometime last week; we worked a prostitution sting, and we recovered two chinese nationals. Who were trafficked.” said Chief Gerke.

Gerke also talked about recruiting. In the state of Texas, you must be 21 years old.

He says that an 18-year-old would prefer to work in an oil field in the area rather than waiting until they turn 21 to become an officer.

Gerke also mentions that advance technology to do with reading license plates, forensics and video cameras are game changers. However, it’s something that their department doesn’t have. Although Midland County Sheriff David Criner was present, he did not testify before the committee.

Pfluger and the members of the committee also thanked the people that represent their agency, and say the point of these committees is to improve law enforcement nationwide.