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Officers become federally deputized in IRS task force

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The Ellis County Press

MIDLOTHIAN – Under a measure approved two weeks ago on a 6-1 vote, Midlothian will federally deputize one of their officers and numerous others in an effort to work alongside the Internal Revenue Service.

Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith said his department would provide the office space and "extensive renovation" to facilitate a High Intensity Drug Interdiction Task Force for the southern Dallas area in which officers from Ellis County and southern Dallas County would be under the supervision of federal authorities.

"I have 14 years in law enforcement," said Midlothian Councilman Ken Chambers, the only dissenting vote cast on the task force proposal. 

"Five of the 14 [were] in criminal investigation, i.e., homicide and armed robbery.  I’m not opposed to crime prevention or the implementation of HIDTA.  The City of Midlothian is responsible for housing the HIDTA Task Force, and our police chief, Carl Smith, is the host for HIDTA.

"The formation of HIDTA consists of various officers from multiple jurisdictions, e.g., IRS, ATF, ICE and several local cities. 

"I questioned Chief Smith during his presentation to council, regarding who initiated HIDTA, reason for the formation, responsibilities, structure, jurisdiction, and mainly why the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department is not part of HIDTA."

Officers participating in the IRS task force include two from DeSoto’s police department, one from Seagoville and one from Lancaster and would be federally authorized to work alongside the U.S. Treasury Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Chambers said the Red Oak Police Department was asked to come on board, as was the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, but both agencies declined.

Smith said the ECSO could participate at any time, but the sheriff’s office, now under Sheriff-elect Johnny Brown, have elected to team up with a northern task force instead.

When Chambers’ questioning about the relationship between the leadership of the ECSO and Midlothian came up, Mayor Boyce Whatley called for a parliamentary procedure to restrict the debate and move the agenda item for a motion. That move, called a "call to question" maneuver, was passed on a 5-2 vote before the final vote to approve the task force.

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