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District Attorney Derek Champagne from Franklin County says counties need to begin tracking and reporting heroin overdoses and deaths more accurately. He also wants better regional crime intelligence. NCPR File photo: Brian Mann
District Attorney Derek Champagne from Franklin County says counties need to begin tracking and reporting heroin overdoses and deaths more accurately. He also wants better regional crime intelligence. NCPR File photo: Brian Mann

Franklin County DA wants North Country crime intelligence center

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One of the North Country's prosecutors says the region needs better intelligence-gathering to deal with the spread of crime, including a surge in heroin trafficking. Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne says he hopes to see crime analysts based in Malone who would help share information throughout the North Country.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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Champagne raised the idea last month during a meeting with state lawmakers about the surge in heroin trafficking. "I'd ask you to consider is expansion of intelligence centers," he said. "Analysts need to be where the problem is, not 200 or 250 miles away."

This month, Champagne urged Franklin County legislators to support a bid for Federal funding through the U.S. Justice Department that would pay for a center designed to coordinate crime intelligence in five counties, including Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson and St. Lawrence.

How can we as law enforcement connect the dots and understand the trade and flow of product?
According to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Champagne told local lawmakers that the program would help police, sheriffs and prosecutors "connect the dots" on crimes like "burglaries and heroin flow."

Speaking last month to the panel of state Senators, Champagne said often too little is known about the networks that feed drugs into the region. "How do these addicts know how to go to Syracuse? How do they know how to go to Albany? How do they know how to go to Massachusetts? How can we as law enforcement connect the dots and understand the trade and flow of product?"

Champagne said better intelligence would allow quicker response and more coordination between law enforcement officials across the North Country, describing the concept as "vital."

According to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Champagne told Franklin County lawmakers that he believes Federal funds would be available to support two analysts as well as a program director to serve the five counties. The money would come from funds forfeited by people convicted of crimes.

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