CHARLESTON Charleston Police Lt. Chad Napier, a Scott High School graduate and commander of West Virginias Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), has been named the top drug task force commander in the country, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced last week. Napier received the 2012 National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Award during a ceremony Dec. 13, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Napier, a Boone County native, is West Virginias first law enforcement officer to receive the honor, given annually by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The HIDTA program was created in 1988 to reduce illegal drug trafficking and production across the country. MDENT is a HIDTA drug task force that primarily covers Kanawha and Putnam counties in West Virginia. This national award confirms something those of us in West Virginia have known for a long time: Chad Napier is a world-class police officer and leader, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. He combines extraordinary talent with an exceptional passion for fighting crime. Were fortunate to have him, and this award is well-deserved recognition for the invaluable work hes done. Lt. Napier, a 17-year veteran of the Charleston Police Department, was appointed commander of MDENT in March 2009. In his first year in that position, MDENTs seizures of illegal drugs and cash rose 400%. A year later, MDENT was voted the No. 1 task force in the Appalachian regional HIDTA. Last year, MDENT, along with the Charleston Drug Enforcement Administration HIDTA Group, received the National HIDTA Award for Outstanding Task Force Marijuana Investigation. That award recognized an investigation, led by Napier, that seized approximately 2,500 pounds of marijuana, 8 kilograms of powder cocaine, approximately $750,000 in cash, and a 1979 Cessna Plane. Also in 2011, U.S. Attorney Goodwin named MDENT the top drug task force in southern West Virginia, and the Appalachian regional HIDTA named Napier the leading drug task force in West Virginia. Individually, Napier received the 2011 Appalachia HIDTA Directors Award. Napier is also credited with creating a full-time drug interdiction team within MDENT. Interdiction operations by Napiers task force seized over $400,000 in cash and $500,000 in illegal drugs in 2011 alone. Napier has been active in training drug task forces across West Virginia in the methods and tactics used by MDENT. In addition to his law enforcement responsibilities, Napier has emphasized community outreach. He has given drug awareness presentations to thousands of West Virginia students, focusing on the dangers of illegal drug use. Lt. Napier has partnered with the U.S. Attorneys Office and the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute in his drug awareness outreach efforts. Napier has been working in law enforcement in West Virginia for the last 17 years and with the Charleston Police Department (CPD) since 1995. From 1997 to 2000, he was assigned to the CPD Street Crimes Unit with the primary duties of investigation, arrest and prosecution of street level drug dealers. From November of 2000 to September of 2002, he was assigned as a detective with the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) with the primary duties of investigation and prosecution of state and federal drug violations. In 2002, he was assigned as a Task Force Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Charleston and remained in that role until 2005. From 2005 to January of 2006, he was assigned to MDENT as a supervisor. His primary duty with MDENT was the supervision of drug unit investigators and investigations. In January of 2006, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and was assigned to the CPD Patrol Division as a shift commander. After graduating the FBI National Academy in September of 2007, he was transferred to the Housing Division as the commander. On March 2, 2009 he was appointed as the Commander of the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT). Chad has worked on hundreds of drug related arrests and drug violations. He has also been declared an expert witness in illegal drug possession and distribution in many state and federal courts. There are currently 28 HIDTAs across the country. These HIDTAs cover approximately 16 percent of counties in the United States and 60 percent of the U.S. population. HIDTA-designated counties are located in 46 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. The Appalachia HIDTA, which was created in 1998, consists of 77 counties in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. West Virginia counties in the Appalachia HIDTA are Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Hancock, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Ohio, Putnam, and Wayne. The following West Virginia task forces participating in the Appalachia HIDTA: WV Eradication Task Force, WV DEA HIDTA Task Force, Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force, Huntington Violent Crimes and Drug Task Force, Marshall County Drug Task Force, Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), Ohio Valley Drug Task Force, Southern Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, and the U.S. 119 Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.