Lancaster County Courthouse

The Lancaster County Courthouse at 50 North Duke Street.

The detective who led the county's Drug Task Force said Wednesday that he was fired earlier this week. 

John Burkhart, a retired Lancaster city detective who since 2011 led the drug task force, confirmed to LNP|LancasterOnline that he was fired on Monday. He declined to elaborate, other than to say he is seeking a lawyer.

Also Wednesday, the Lancaster County District Attorney's office released a statement "announcing a temporary restructuring of the Lancaster County Drug Task Force."

The drug task force is a county-wide law enforcement program run by the district attorney's office with the goal of investigating and combating drug crime in the county. The task force was created in 1988.

Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said in the news release that her office, which oversees the drug task force, plans to fill current vacancies for a task force director as well two municipal officer positions.

In an email, Adams declined to comment on Burkhart's employment, saying it was a personnel matter. 

The news release said the director role "has been vacant since March 2, the departure date of Detective Sgt. John Burkhart."

A police officer with 18 years of experience, eight of which are on the task force, will be heading the unit on a temporary basis. Adams said she is confident in the experience of the officer, who was not named because he does undercover work.

Adams' release said the temporary restructuring would include working in tandem with Lancaster city police’s Selective Enforcement Unit officers, who will be sworn as special county detectives to allow them to work county-wide.

Since last year, the number of officers on the task force has dwindled due to lack of funding. Adams, in Wednesday's release, said she is committed to ensuring the unit "functions effectively for years to come" and that the office is "involved in discussions with all stakeholders regarding the Task Force as a whole."