From what I have been told, little is known about the tremendous effort exerted by law enforcement officers who are seeking to eradicate the marketing, trafficking, and distribution of illegal drugs that flow in and out of the State of Georgia. Over the years, different approaches involving different agencies have fought the illegal drug trade in our state with mixed results.

Today, the west Georgia area has the benefit of being patrolled by a multi-jurisdictional organization that coordinates state and local law enforcement agencies to work together toward the common goal of preventing, or at least slowing down, the aggressive actions of drug traffickers moving illegally substances throughout Georgia. This organization is called the West Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office.

According to their website, the mission of the West Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office is to aggressively seek out, dismantle, and prosecute drug trafficking organizations (DTO’s), drug traffickers and drug related violent criminals. The West Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office (WMRDEO) is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Work Unit serving twenty-two Georgia Counties including Metro-Atlanta. The WMRDEO office is the first of its kind in Georgia.

Formulated to maximize inter-agency cooperation, WMRDEO is a shared effort between the GBI and participating local law enforcement agencies. The GBI provides supervision, agents and logistical support to the work unit. Local participating agencies provide one or more officers who are specially sworn GBI Task Force Agents. State and Local Agents work side by side to combat illicit drugs within the twenty-two County area of operation.

The West Metro area of operation includes the counties of Carroll, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Harris, Heard, Henry, Meriwether, Muscogee, Newton, Pike, Rockdale, Spalding, Talbot, Taylor, Troup, and Upson.

Currently Law Enforcement Agents are assigned from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Heard County Sheriff’s Office, Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office, Carrollton City Police Department, Villa Rica City Police Department, and Atlanta City Police Department. The West Metro Regional Drug Enforcement Office will accept application for agency membership from any governmental law enforcement agency serving within the WMRDEO area of operation.

In general, sovereign agencies working together in an efficient manner is the exception rather than the norm. Most people know that the F.B.I., C.I.A., DEA, and BATF and other federal agencies have historically been at odds with one another and actually compete against other agencies in the pursuit of criminal justice.

However, my experience has been that the centrally controlled WMRDEO operates in a rather streamlined manner with clear guidelines and chain of commands that provide for effective investigations which result in challenging criminal cases for lawyers like me to defend.

The last point that needs to be addressed is the geographical makeup of our state. The west Georgia area has two important interstates that flow directly into Atlanta. I-85 is used by many drug traffickers to transport illegal narcotics from south Florida into the metro and west Georgia area. I-20 is commonly used as a thoroughfare for Mexican drug cartels to move their shipments through Texas into the deep southern states and into Georgia.

Without the WMRDEO, drug traffickers would be much more embolden to move their loads at will. But because we have dedicated officers, both on the state and local levels willing to risk their lives to prevent thousands of pounds of cocaine, methamphetamine, and other dangerous drugs from entering our state, the chances are less that these drugs will be available to our citizens and especially our children.

The next time that you see a police officer in uniform, consider approaching him or her and simply give them your thanks for their service to our community.