Crime skyrocketed in rural Sangamon County last year, according to Sheriff Neil Williamson. Murders, aggravated and sexual assaults, and arson were all up by what he called "unacceptable" levels -- and most of it can be traced to the drug trade.
Williamson is reactivating the dormant Drug Intervention Response, or DIRT, team on March 4th. It was disbanded due to dried up funds in 2009.
Three deputies will be taken off regular patrol, which Williamson says could result in longer response times -- but he says the department doesn't have a choice.
It's unclear how much the move will cost, but it comes after years of budget cuts. Williamson estimates the department's budget is about $1.5 million smaller than it was five years ago, and it's lost 13 deputies.
(posted 4:32 p.m. 1/15/2013 by Alex Degman)