March 4, 2015 Edition

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WRPD Officer Bubba Blackwood was recently named to head the new drug interdiction department for Walnut Ridge. The department will focus on collecting intelligence regarding the manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs in Walnut Ridge.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

WRPD Drug Interdiction
Department working
toward safer WR, LawCo.

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

As part of the reorganization of the Walnut Ridge Police Department, appointing a new chief and working toward a stronger, more efficient police force, Mayor Charles Snapp recently created the WRPD Drug Interdiction Department to combat drug crimes in the area.

Officer Bubba Blackwood was appointed as drug interdiction officer. His job is to work all drug-related crimes in the city and to assist other agencies in the county when needed. Blackwood has already assisted in drug arrests in Walnut Ridge and Portia.

Blackwood said since narcotics are so fluent and easy to acquire, it is important for all departments to have a focused police force for drug interdiction. He said he was honored to have been chosen for this position in the WRPD.

Blackwood had applied to fill the vacant police chief position alongside fellow WRPD officer Chris Kirksey. Snapp said when looking into both officers' qualifications, it became apparent that Blackwood had the skills necessary to head up the new drug interdiction department he felt Walnut Ridge desperately needed.

When describing those skills, Blackwood said, "To work drugs, you have to know you're working it 24/7. You have to know how to read people and the signs they give."

Blackwood said the new department will patrol the city and gather intelligence on who's moving, selling or buying illegal drugs. The department will also work with other agencies in the county. "We share information with each other and form a plan on how to solve the problem and rid the county of illegal drugs."

In support of the new department, Charles and Jackie Snapp made a contribution to aid in the protection against drug crimes. Charles said it is a very personal cause for him as his son has struggled with drug addiction and been in and out of prison much of his adult life.

"If our donation can keep one person from going through what my family's been through, it's worth it," Charles said. "We're glad to have the opportunity to help the department address this problem."

Moving forward, the department will continue to work narcotics under the direction of Blackwood with Mayor Snapp overseeing the department.

Blackwood is a 1989 graduate of Williford High School and attended police training at Black River Technical College. He has been with the WRPD for six-and-a-half months. He and wife, Lavesta, have two sons.

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