Township board renews FANG membership

FLINT TWP. — Supporting the Flint Area. Narcotics Group (FANG). a multi-jurisdictional drug-fighting law enforcement team, has become a routine part of township business.

The township’s board recent unanimous vote to pay FANG annual membership dues of $40,972.39 was part of a Consent Agenda – a new board meeting procedure that lumps routine business and reports into one agenda item that gets approved in one motion.

Unlike past years, there was no board discussion on the value or cost of maintaining FANG membership, which some municipalities have pulled out of in recent years to save money. Dues are set under an interlocal agreement between participating Genesee County communities and the Michigan State Police.

In past years, Police Chief George Sippert has spoken highly of FANG and its invaluable help in crime-fighting and footing the bill for cleaning up meth labs.

The township has one officer assigned to FANG whose salary is partly covered by a federal grant.

Under drug forfeiture laws, FANG members also can recoup dues paid from funds and valuables seized in drug busts.

Flint Township has participated in FANG since its inception in the mid- 1980s, Chief Sippert has said.

One positive note is that despite the sizable cost, FANG annual dues have held fairly steady in recent years. The township’s membership dues were $41,972.39 in 2016 and $40,972.39 this year.

Chief Sippert has said that FANG is very active in Flint Township and sometimes helps out on non-drug cases.

Last year the board discussed the fact that the City of Flint had dropped out of FANG due to budget cuts, although a big part of FANG work is done inside the city limits. Trustee Frank Kasle then questioned the value of paying dues for what other cities are getting for free.

Chief Sippert responded that FANG is a community-wide resource that could fold without financial support, leaving the police department to have to handle drug activity on its own.

Recent FANG activity has included busts on marijuana grow houses said to be operating illegally.

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