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By Stephen Luce

As any law enforcement officer will attest, ensuring that we are taking advantage of innovative technologies in order to better enforce the law is critical in our fight against crime. That’s why we at the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association make a concerted effort to continually hold training and educational sessions.

Recently, our members attended a training conducted by Appriss, the developer of the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), Indiana’s real-time pseudoephedrine (PSE) sales tracking system.

NPLEx, used in 34 states nationwide, allows Indiana’s law enforcement community to track the sale of PSE, an ingredient commonly found in cold and allergy medicines, but which also can be used by criminals to produce meth. When consumers attempt to purchase medicines containing PSE in excess of the legal limit, their purchase is automatically blocked, and law enforcement is alerted in real time. This system creates an additional roadblock for criminals and provides the law enforcement community with valuable data for use in arrests and in prosecution, while at the same time helping to ensure that law-abiding consumer have access to these important over-the-counter medicines.

In light of the recent meth lab discovery in Indianapolis next door to a school, the importance of NPLEx cannot be understated. This system has been highly effective in Indiana thus far, and training like the one recently conducted go a long way toward making sure that we are using it in the most efficient and effective ways possible.

In the first three quarters of 2017, 328 meth labs were busted by law enforcement statewide, and through the second quarter of 2017, the NPLEx system in Indiana helped block the sale of 23,404 boxes of PSE — 55,104 grams — from being purchased illegally. Additionally, since 2015, Indiana has seen a 68-percent decline in meth lab seizures through the first half of this year.

NPLEx is just one of the tools that law enforcement is employing to combat the meth epidemic, but this educational program represents the ongoing effort by the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association to keep meth production out of our state.

Indiana’s sheriffs are committed to keeping the state safe and are proud to continue training to most efficiently and effectively stop the bad actors harming Indiana’s communities.

Stephen Luce of the executive director of the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association in Indianapolis. Send comments to editorial@therepublic.com.