A Message About Drugs from the Prosecutor
Please read the prosecutor's message about drug abuse (PDF).
Prosecutor's Porter County Narcotics Unit
Since the late 1970s, Porter County has operated an undercover drug unit. The unit initially operated under the overall supervision of the major law enforcement agency chiefs in the county. Individual police departments would assign an officer to work undercover for the unit.
The Valparaiso Police Department, Portage Police Department, and Porter County Sheriff's Department took turns supplying a supervisor who would manage the unit. On an almost a yearly basis, the physical location of the unit changed and it experienced the inherent problems of operating under a new supervisor/coordinator. In 1994 the Chiefs requested the Prosecutor's Office take over the management of the unit on a permanent basis.
Prosecutor's Investigator Robert Taylor
Prosecutor Jim Douglas managed to secure a three-year decreasing grant from the State of Indiana to fund the position of a prosecutor's investigator who would manage the unit. Mr. Robert Taylor, formerly the Valparaiso Police Department assistant chief was hired as a Prosecutor's investigator and assigned as coordinator of the narcotics unit in January, 1995.
Mr. Taylor has years of experience as undercover officer and as a unit supervisor of the unit while with the Valparaiso Police Department. He is universally respected by the police agencies of Porter County. Mr. Taylor currently reports directly to Prosecutor Brian Gensel.
Funding & Staff
In 2008, Prosecutor Gensel requested and the Porter County Council generously allocated an additional $250,000 per year to be distributed to participating law enforcement agencies to enable them to provide four additional undercover officers. Currently the unit has seven full-time undercover officers:
- Two from Valparaiso Police Department
- Two from the Porter County Sheriff's Department
- Two from Portage Police Department
- One from Chesterton Police Department
The PCNU participates in joint investigations, and shares intelligence and equipment with drug enforcement officers from federal, state, and local jurisdictions when appropriate.
A Growing Problem
Porter County and its adjoining communities continue to experience a significant problem with narcotics and other controlled substances. Intelligence and investigative activity indicate a major increase in cocaine (powder and crack), heroin, methamphetamine (crank), marijuana.
This increasing drug problem contributes to a variety of social ills, and a major factor appears to be the significantly larger narcotics problem which exists in Chicago and Lake County, Indiana area that transcends Porter County borders.