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Bill would include money for regional training academy

By By William F. West / community editor
July 18, 2002
A U.S. Senate bill would include $4.2 million for the Regional Counterdrug Training Academy.
The funding, announced earlier this week by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is part of legislation approved by a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Training Academy, located at the Meridian Naval Air Station, began as a component of law enforcement sponsored and congressionally directed Gulf States Counterdrug Initiative.
The purpose of the initiative was to identify resources, service and support that can be provided by Department of Defense components and agencies to support counterdrug activities along the Southern coastal region.
The academy's mission was first focused on the three requesting states, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. In 1996, Georgia became an official member of the institute, and in 2000, Tennessee was admitted.
In addition to the Gulf States Counterdrug Initiative states, the academy provides training to law enforcement agencies throughout the nation including national guardsmen involved in counterdrug support missions.
Such training is provided at no cost to the law enforcement officers or agencies. The only cost incurred by the agency is the transportation to and from the academy. National guardsmen do not incur a tuition cost, but are responsible for their own per diem and travel.
If approved, the more than $4 million in the Senate appropriations bill will fund the Training Academy's fiscal year 2003 operating budget.
Cochran staff member Marko Medved said that the full Senate Appropriations Committee was scheduled to meet today.
From there, the bill would have to go the U.S. House and U.S. Senate conference committees for approval.