Board deems FANG worthwhile

FLINT TWP. — Money is tight in a sluggish economy and the township Board of trustees in recent months has had to cut back or cut out a lot of things. But not its support of countywide drug enforcement.

By a unanimous vote, the board agreed last week to pay nearly $50,000 in annual dues to continue its participation in the Flint Area Narcotics Group (FANG).

FANG is made up of officers from multiple jurisdictions including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Flint Police Department, Flint Township Police Department, Swartz Creek Police Department, Burton Police Department, Grand Blanc City Police Department, Grand Blanc Township Police Department, Davison Township Police Department, Genesee Township Police Department, Mt. Morris Township Police Department, Flushing Police Department and Michigan State Police.

Flint Township has one officer assigned to the unit, said Police Chief George Sippert.

“A lot of the situations they are involved in are here in Flint Township,’’ he said. “They are a tremendous asset for us and our community.’’

Asked to describe what FANG does, Sippert said FANG primarily investigates narcotics cases, focusing on mid- to higher level and federal cases because the drug trade does not originate in Genesee County. The officers work undercover and drive undercover vehicles.

But they also help out with other police work such as surveillance and looking for murder suspects, Sippert said.

“I have never had them tell me no when we need something,’’ Sippert said. “If we need help they can bring their forces to bear whether it has to do with gambling, drugs, murder or theft.”

The township’s 2012 FANG dues of $40,972.39 is less than the $50, 317 it had budgeted for the program this year.

Sippert noted that the township received more back in drug forfeiture money last year than it paid in dues.

Last April, a FANG officer presented the township board with a check for $50,317.08 – its share of proceeds under drug forfeiture laws from a drug bust in February 2009 resulting in seizure of some 1,200 pounds of marijuana and $1.8 million in cash and assets.

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