FLINT TWP. — Renewing membership in the Flint Area Narcotics Group (FANG) took a $41,000 bite of the township’s coffers, but township officials say it is well worth every penny spent.
Annual membership dues of $41,972.39 recently approved unanimously by the township board go to support the efforts of the multi-jurisdictional drug team responsible for investigating and handling drug and criminal activity in Genesee County.
Participating agencies with officers assigned to FANG include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Michigan State Police, Burton Police Department, Flint Police Department, Flint Township Police Department, Grand Blanc Township Police Department and the Mt. Morris Township Police Department.
Police Chief George Sippert said fees are based on a formula. In the past, FANG paid half the salary of participating officers but fees have increased because federal and state grant funding have decreased, he said.
The township routinely gets refunds of the fee through adjudicated drug forfeitures and seizures.
Chief Sippert said the township has been a FANG member since its inception about 25 years ago.
“They are very active in our community,” he said. “If we come across a meth lab, they do the entire cleanup. A lot of communities joined for that purpose alone but that is one of the benefits.”
Meth labs cleanups are dangerous and expensive, he said.
If the township needs undercover cars, FANG is a phone call away, Chief Sippert said. The send people over to help with other cases.
“It is worthwhile for our residents to have a narcotics task force working in our community,” Chief Sippert said.
FANG has busted about 35 meth labs in Genesee County this year, about three times as many as there were two years ago, according to published reports.