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Jack Luikart named Fusion Center director

CHARLESTON — A new director of the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center has been appointed, state officials said on Monday

Jack Luikart joined the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary in July 2017 after retiring earlier that year from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. The center is the state’s all-hazards approach to gathering, analyzing and sharing information.

The appointment is immediately effective, Secretary Jeff Sandy of the Department of Military Affairs said.

Luikart is the Fusion Center’s third director since its 2008 founding. He succeeds Jessica Griffith, who has joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Luikart has been head of the department’s drug control policy efforts, including prevention and education outreach to youth. He will continue in that role.

“Luikart has been a leader on numerous successful investigations to stop organized attempts to introduce illegal drugs from entering our correctional facilities,” Sandy said. “He counsels juveniles detained in the state’s juvenile facilities, trains law enforcement on gang violence and assisted the development of the new incarcerated drug rehabilitation program.”

The Fusion Center allows local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies to share resources, expertise and information. With private entities also participating, the resulting collaboration makes the most of their respective contributions to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to all hazards, including terrorist and criminal activity, according to a press release.

The agency oversees the new West Virginia Narcotics Intelligence Unit established by Gov. Jim Justice.

Justice announced the Narcotics Intelligence Unit during his State of the State address last week, issuing an executive order to create it. The unit will provide state-of-the-art data analytics, forensic accounting and support to law enforcement statewide to crack down on drug trafficking, officials said.

“I look forward to working with our Fusion Center team and providing them with the training, resources and personnel to continue the exceptional work they produce,” Luikart said. “I hope to call on my personal and professional relationships with our state’s law enforcement and all other public safety agencies to expand our partnerships and assistance in any manner possible.”

Luikart focused on drug crime during his 30 years of law enforcement service.

He earned multiple assignments from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, including as group supervisor of the Charleston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force from August 2015 until his retirement. He also commanded the Putnam County office of the multi-county, multi-agency Metro Drug Unit for nearly a decade.

As Correctional Substance Abuse Control director, Luikart has overseen the ongoing and evolving crackdown on drugs and other contraband at correctional facilities. He has visited dozens of schools across West Virginia, sharing a substance abuse prevention and education program he developed with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

He also helped bring the program to the 2019 World Scout Jamboree held at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia.

“During the Justice administration, Luikart has taught the DEA 360 Strategy drug prevention program to over 100,000 children in West Virginia,” Sandy said. “He has received countless letters from West Virginia children thanking him for changing their lives.”

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