Scotts Bluff County - W.I.N.G.

Western Nebraska Intelligence & Narcotics Group

The WING Task Force is one of a number of task forces in Nebraska. WING covers the eleven panhandle counties (Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Kimball, Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, and Sioux). WING receives significant funding through federal grants administered by the Nebraska Crime Commission. WING also receives significant funding through the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). WING receives funding on a year-to-year basis, requiring annual grant applications and reporting.

History:
The concept of having a total cooperative investigative effort between eleven counties was difficult to sell at first --- now that the program is a reality it would be difficult to discontinue. Prior to the establishment and funding of the Western Nebraska Intelligence and Narcotics Group (WING), most agencies supported the funding of more Nebraska State Patrol drug investigators and simply passed "hot" information on to their drug division. The result of this was missed information, splintered efforts to follow-up and ineffective results. Events in 1988 revealed that the narcotic problem was beginning to overwhelm all agencies. The citizens were clamoring for more action and the political leaders throughout our area began to recognize the need to actively support narcotic and criminal investigations. Law enforcement began to search for solutions. WING became operational in August of 1989.

WING has been involved in over 7,227 arrests (as of December 31, 2012). Many arrests have been high visibility events, apprehending large-scale drug traffickers. Deaths directly attributed to narcotics trafficking were cleared and subjects convicted. The potential for homicide exists as long as the high profit drug enterprises exist. FYI: SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE

Many original leaders, supervisors and investigators have changed since WING began, however the overall goals and objectives have remained on target. Several Advisory Board members are prior WING agents. WING is recognized in every corner of the Panhandle by our law-abiding citizens and certainly by the violators within the drug culture. The letters of support that WING receives every year are further evidence that our citizens continue to expect great things from the Western Nebraska Intelligence and Narcotics Group. Law enforcement leaders who are fully knowledgeable of WING and the community problems that narcotic trafficking brings are very concerned about the future. They are convinced that there is nothing yet available that can surpass the success or replace the cooperative effort and combined approach to narcotic and violent crime investigations and major case coordination brought to us by WING.

Funding:
Leaders knew that the federal funds were available and they organized the first group meetings between agencies. Ideas were discussed and each County bought into the approach. Some agencies continued to think that WING was just a big city project, but the success rate of WING has brought comfort to every community in western Nebraska. Every drug peddler arrested sends a positive message throughout the jurisdictions. Since our first grant award of approximately $66,000 in 1989, WING has received over $4 million dollars in grants. The most recent grant award was $70,000.00 from the crime commission. However, the local agencies that contribute investigators also provide a 80% “match” for every grant dollar received. Local agencies also provide equipment, vehicles, office space, and additional manpower when necessary. In past years, WING has received annual grants in the neighborhood of $260,000. However, federal funding has gone down significantly over the years. The entities that make up the task force recognize the need for this group, and their governing boards have provided the funds to support the project.

Personnel and Management:
WING and HIDTA agents are drawn from the ranks of the Alliance Police Department, Chadron Police Department, Cheyenne County Sheriff’s Office, Gering Police Department, Kimball Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol, Scottsbluff Police Department, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sidney Police Department.

WING also employs an Administrative Assistant and Intelligence Analyst. They are assigned to assist the grant facilitator in collecting and tabulating statistics, generating reports and furnishing clerical services for officers in the WING office, in addition to coordinating intelligence files. The office support to WING by the Intelligence Analyst has assisted immensely in the duties of compiling intelligence information. This position enables agents to work investigations, and maintain the flow of intelligence reports.

An advisory board, consisting of the chiefs, sheriffs, or their designated representatives from the entities that contribute investigators, governs WING. The advisory board has also appointed a Task Force Commander (Nebraska State Patrol Sergeant) and a liaison officer (Alliance Police Department Lieutenant) to provide oversight and expertise. The advisory board operates under the Nebraska Open Meetings law. Meeting notices are published, minutes are public record, and the public is welcome to attend.

State and federal authorities have deputized all WING agents, eliminating most jurisdictional issues. WING agents work very closely with surrounding task forces, and almost always have cooperative cases under investigation with other task forces in Nebraska and surrounding states. WING also works very closely with federal agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (BATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the United States Attorney’s Office, and others.

In addition to their duties of investigating cases involving drugs and violent crime, WING agents perform a variety of other functions. They testify in court whenever necessary. They conduct training for other officers throughout the region. They also provide drug awareness programs to civic and school organizations. Several of them serve on SWAT teams, and several of them are members of the Nebraska Region IV Clandestine Laboratory Team.

For more information regarding the WING Task Force, please contact our office.

Contact Information

Location

Administration Building - Lower Level
1825 10th Street
Gering, NE 69341

Office Hours

Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Closed through the lunch hour
Closed Weekends and Holidays

Contact

308 436-4544 - Main
308 436-6680 - Fax

Western Nebraska Intelligence & Narcotics Group
(W.I.N.G Task Force)
(Funded in part by federal funds through the Nebraska Crime Commission)

Updated: 2013.01.23 - 15:30 MDT