BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – The county’s narcotics task force has moved it’s operations under the sheriff’s roof, and has named a new commander.
Detective Chad Donaldson, a 17-year veteran with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office was named the Commander by the Lee County Narcotics Task Force’s control board on Thursday, according to board chair Stacy Weber.
Donaldson is very familiar with the operations being the sheriff’s departments representative on the force for the past six years. Former Commander Jay Whitaker announced his retirement last month.
Donaldson takes over the reigns immediately and said he was excited about the opportunity to further his role in helping the communities of Lee County.
The new role won’t take him away from his investigation duties at the sheriff’s department, but will be an added responsibility.
“It’s always been my intention to be involved in helping make these communities better for everyone,” Donaldson said Thursday afternoon.
“I thought this was a good way to assist with that.”
During his time with the sheriff’s office, Donaldson has been a patrolman, lead detective of the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division, and a D.A.R.E. instructor for Central Lee, Holy Trinity and Denmark Schools for many years.
Commander Donaldson is also trained in Drug Recognition to combat drugged and impaired drivers, and was a nominee for the prestigious Law Enforcement Kip Hayward award for his hard work and dedication in this field.
He said he hopes to enhance the task force’s D.E.C. program which is a Drug Endangered Children.
“I want to take a harder look at the effect these types of drug cases have on children in the homes,” he said. “That’s a very important program as is the Drug Court program we have in Lee County.”
Donaldson said it’s not only important to work and prosecute drug cases in the county, but to also follow up on those involved with, and impacted by, drug use.
“We have to use the probation and parole systems as well as the drug court program to help people pull their lives away from drugs and then follow up and see how they’re doing.”
He said when people leave jail or prison after serving time for drug crimes, the rate of those who return to that lifestyle is very high.
“A lot of times they go back to that life they know because it’s the easiest thing for them at that moment,” he said. “The relapse rate for meth is extremely high. It’s a very difficult drug to get away from.”
He said it would also be good to talk about, and showcase, the success stories so more people will see and hear about others who have taken drugs out of their lives.
Donaldson said the drug trends in Lee County are pretty much the same as they’ve been since he was brought on as a patrolman in 2002.
“We have a large influx of marijuana and methamphetamine and that’s not a trend that’s going to go away anytime soon,” he said.
He also hopes to increase the task force’s grant funding to help increase programming and enforcement efforts of the task force.
Other duties Donaldson is responsible for include: ILEA Certified Firearms Instructor, member of the Lee County Rapid Response Unit, ALERT Trainer for community members to protect themselves against armed mass shooters, Law Enforcement Intelligence Network member, Internal Affairs Investigations trained, Glock and AR-lS firearms Armorer and organizer of the Lee County Reserve Unit.
Donaldson will supervise three Law Enforcement Officers assigned to the LCNTF from Fort Madison Police Department, Keokuk Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
He resides in Fort Madison with his wife and two sons.