Oroville will continue to be part of area drug task force

The Oroville City Council has agreed to join with the local drug task force for another year, but questioned the entities apparent lack of activity in the area the last few years.

“It is real frustrating when a couple individuals seem to keep getting away with selling drugs year after year,” said Councilman Jon Neal at the July 20 council meeting.

Mayor Chuck Spieth asked Police Chief Clay Warnstaff if the task force had done anything in Oroville lately. The chief said there were ongoing investigations in the area taking place.

Realizing the incorporated cities were on tight budgets, the amount of money to join the North Central Washington Drug Task Force this year has gone down somewhat. According to the Okanogan County Sheriff’s office Web site, the program is a federally funded multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force with the sheriff’s office as parent agency. The task force staff includes one National Guard employee, three task force detectives and other Okanogan County Law Enforcement personnel as local agency budgets allow. The task force has a full time detective from the U.S. Border Patrol, a full time detective from the Ferry County Sheriffs Office and a full time sergeant from the Okanogan County Sheriffs Office.

In other business, the city has received additional complaints of recreational boaters and jet skiers approaching the shore at too high of speeds while children are swimming in Lake Osoyoos at the city’s Deep Bay Park. The issue is a reoccurring one each summer. In the past the council has been reluctant to order buoys be placed to mark a specified swimming area as watercraft operators and swimmers both take advantage of the area near the boat launch.

At the July 20 meeting there was discussion of putting at least one or two individual buoys indicating the top speed watercraft may travel that close in to shore as set by the state. The council will have city staff research the state laws regarding watercraft speed near shore and report at the next meeting.

The Okanogan County Sheriff’s office is responsible for patrolling the lakes in the area and the council hopes that having the buoys indicating the state speed limit will slow watercraft users down before someone gets hurt.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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