The county is dealing with a rise in heroin use, police have said, along with the prescription drug epidemic. Deweese, who took office in January, vowed to ramp up the county's drug task force during his campaign.
Deweese, a longtime National Guard member, believes his contacts with the Guard helped bring Lowe to the department, and the county's designation as a "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area" also helped.
That designation allows counties to be involved in a program that's meant to enhance and coordinate drug control efforts among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
The National Guard pays Lowe's salary, Deweese said. Some of the money comes from the West Virginia National Guard Counterdrug Forfeiture Fund. Deweese said he's still working out details about how Putnam will be required to contribute to the forfeiture program.
"Normally, once you do a forfeiture, for instance, go into a house and collect $10,000, it's broken down by the percentage of officers assigned to that department.
"If [we] have four officers, 80 percent goes to us and 10 percent would go to the Guard and another 10 percent might go to another agency," he said.
Deweese also has recruited a federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent to assist the drug task force and he plans to add more. An officer from the Hurricane Police Department will join the task force, too, he said.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1254.