Huber Heights councilwoman fighting to get her city involved with RANGE Task Force
HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - A Huber Heights City Council woman is speaking out to get her city involved in the takedown of the Miami Valley's drug dealers.
Janell Smith said she wants to put a Huber officer on the RANGE task force; the coalition of Miami Valley law enforcement taking down major drug dealers of this opiate epidemic.
Smith told FOX 45 she pitched the idea to the rest of council and brought in the task force commander to talk to them about the program, but said her colleagues were uninterested, and she feels they aren't paying attention to regional drug issues.
"It would be naïve for anybody to think that Huber Heights does not have a drug problem," Smith said Friday.
According to city police, they tracked 170 overdoses in city limits in 2016.
"When I'm seeing the amount of drugs and people arrested, it concerns me, why aren't we participating in this?" Smith explained.
Smith has been paying attention to the news, major drug busts by the RANGE task force, where they are happening, and the plea from Montgomery County sheriff Phil Plummer for help from any other jurisdictions with officers and resources to help.
"We have I-70 that goes right through our city, we are prime," Smith said, "it's not a Huber Heights problem or Dayton's problem or somebody else's problem, it's everybody's problem."
Smith said the roadblock to getting it done is butting heads on city council.
"We're not getting anything done in our city just because were too busy fighting. I'm tired of fighting I want to put that aside and talk about major issues," Smith said.
In April, Task Force Commander Mike Brem spoke to counsel on Smith's request about the program and what it would take to send an officer to be a part of it.
Smith told FOX 45 it would only take the cost of that officers salary, as they would be working for the task force instead of the city.
She also said the city has the budget because of love use in to previous years, and she wants a vote on the issue.
"There's no team there, if it's something I bring up, there are certain members that are going to vote no just because it's me," said Smith.
FOX 45 asked Huber Heights mayor Tom McMasters if he wants Huber Heights Police to help the task force.
He said he agreed with the rest of council and the police chief that they are satisfied with the counter drug investigations the city is doing on his own.
Smith said her flight isn't just about Huber Heights.
"If we don't have as many drug cases then maybe we can be helping the municipality next to us," she said.
FOX 45 is following the issue to see if it comes up for a vote.
Task force officials said there are other jurisdictions who do not participate, including most in southern Montgomery county including Kettering, Centerville, Miamisburg, West Carrollton, and Oakwood.