December 18, 2013 - Atlas Twp.-On Monday night the township board of trustees voted 3-2 to participate in the Flint Area Narcotics Group (FANG).
Township supervisor Shirley Kautman-Jones, Trustee Barry June and Trustee Patrick Major voted yes. Township Clerk Tere Onica and Treasurer Ann Marie Moore voted no.
However, the board agreed to only partially fund the requested dollars to support the law enforcement group.
FANG was formed in the mid-1980s as an answer to community needs to address the growing issue of drugs in Genesee County communities and target those responsible for drug trafficking. The Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force is not only for drug enforcement, but also to assist with violent and property crime investigations, such as home invasions, and larcenies when requested by local law enforcement partners with the county.
Currently, there are 17 of 33 governmental municipalities in Genesee County that participate in FANG with the Michigan State Police, City of Burton Police Department, Davison Township Police Department, Grand Blanc Township Police Department, Flint Township Police Department, City of Flint Police Department, Mt. Morris Township Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
The amount each of the 33 county municipalities contribute to FANG is based on state equalized value of the property and population.
According to the rate chart provided by FANG, the township, excluding the Village of Goodrich, has a population of 6,133 and an SEV of $251,919,300 producing a base due for group $10,581.95. The Village of Goodrich base dues is $2,369.74.
The township voted to pay $1,000 for FANG. On Dec. 9 the Village of Goodrich opted not to participate.
"We should give them something to participate," said June. "I think $1,000 would be at least a token."
"We already pay a lot for police protection here in the township," he added. "However not the $10,000 (FANG is suggesting the township pay)."
Detective First Lieutenant Patrick Richard, FANG section commander said drugs are in every community.
"From marijuana to meth to cocaine or heroin these drugs end up in the outlying areas of the county including Atlas Township or Goodrich," said Richard, who served more than 25 years with the Michigan State Police.
"We realize they will come from Atlas Township to Flint to purchase heroin or other drugs—thus it reaches every facet of society. We (FANG) are fighting to get the mid to upper level drug dealers. We are also up against the medical marijuana growers that are not following the rules. The drug problems are in every corner of the county."
"We investigate crimes the local police force just does not have time to," he said.
"Consider the number of breaking and entering crimes that happen in the township—property crimes like these are all about pawning the stolen merchandise for drug money. We are the plain clothes officers that have the staff to investigate where other law enforcement don't. The current deputies in Atlas Township do a great job, but there are just too few of them for in-depth investigations."
Richard said that a representative from FANG will attend both the Village of Goodrich council meeting and Atlas Township Board of Trustees meeting early in 2014 to seek support.
"We also will spend time in the schools educating youth."
Currently, the township, including the Village of Goodrich, is covered by a two-year contract with the Genesee County Sheriff Department signed in 2011 which includes four deputies, along with funding for a part-time detective-sergeant, split between Fenton and the township. The contract, which costs taxpayers $565,000 per year, is funded by 2.1 mills, which expires Dec. 31.
A township taxpayer with a $100,000 home pays about $105 per year for the deputies.