By T.J. Pyette Havre Daily News
Working behind the scenes is a way of life for the Tri-Agenday Task Force, said team leader Jerry Nystrom.
"The nature of our work is covert," he said.
But that doesn't mean its members want their mission and the fruits of their work to be a secret.
"We need people to know what we are doing because we need the support of the public in order to continue to operate," he said.
The number of calls and complaints received from residents directly correlates with the number of arrests.
But tipsters might think their information isn't getting results.
Nystrom said that even though they may not see immediate action when they call in a tip, they are not being ignored.
"It's a long process, involving careful research, corroboration, fact gathering and possible surveillance activities" before the task force can make an arrest, he said.
"It's complicated," Nystrom said. "We do pay attention to information as it comes in, and we collect it until we have enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant."
The other consideration in taking immediate action is that drug cases often build upon each other. One arrest often leads to a larger, more intricate network of drug distribution.
Nystrom admits that the process sometimes involves offering leniency to small-time offenders in exchange for help in catching the bigger dealers.
All intelligence received by the task force is analyzed and investigated, said Nystrom. People can call any law enforcement agency with information and it will get routed to the task force.
Nystrom added that tipsters can call anonymously. Confidentiality is a priority with all task force personnel.
"We do everything we can to ensure that the informants remain confidential," he said.
People who have a tip should call Crime Stoppers at 265-4444, or call 265-1192.