HERMISTON - Police Chief Daniel Coulombe was appointed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski last week to a 13-member panel that advises state government on how to best spend grant money to fight violence and drug crime.

The Governor's Drug and Violent Crime Advisory Board helps Kulongoski develop strategies for using a U.S. Department of Justice grant aimed at reducing crime.

"I feel really honored," Coulombe said. "We're out in the drug arena. These efforts will help put (the drug problem) on the map at least."

Coulombe already serves on the governor's Methamphetamine Task Force, a position Kulongoski considered when appointing him, said Craig Campbell, Kulongoski's senior policy adviser.

"It was a logical choice to bring him on board," Campbell said. "It's always nice to have someone from Eastern Oregon to share their perspective."

The grant that the board oversees, the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant Fund, provides $6.3 million annually, said Carmen Merlo, an official that assists the board.

The money goes toward programs to help with juvenile violence, domestic violence, drug and alcohol treatment and others, Merlo said.

At Monday's city council meeting, Ed Brookshier, Hermiston's city manager, commended Coulombe on the appointment.

"This will provide us with a voice on some very critical issues," he said.

The board position is for four years and is unpaid.

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