A drug epidemic is sweeping the nation, and unfortunately, northeastern Minnesota has not been immune.

Having served Minnesota as a law enforcement officer for 23 years, I am all too familiar with the devastating impact the drug crisis has had on our communities. The worst part of my job was delivering death notifications to unsuspecting families to let them know their loved one passed from a drug overdose.

Through my experience as a police officer, I know firsthand that our law enforcement officers are doing everything in their power to address the drug crisis ravaging our communities, but they need help.

Last week, I sat down with community members and law enforcement officers in Aitkin County to hear local perspectives on how the federal government can help solve issues like addiction.

The biggest concern they pointed out was a lack of resources to combat this crisis, particularly in our more rural communities. That’s why I was happy to announce that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will receive over $1 million dollars in grant money from the Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Anti-Heroin Task Force Program to be used for drug enforcement purposes.

Earlier this year, I sent a letter requesting sufficient funding for the COPS programs, knowing that investments like this one will enhance the great work already being done by Minnesota’s law enforcement officers to prevent distribution and abuse of illicit drugs.

While this investment was a great step, I’m aware that those with boots on the ground fighting this drug crisis need even more resources. I will keep working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and this administration to provide law enforcement officers, healthcare officials and community leaders with everything they need to put an end to this epidemic.