The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the blessing of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners to spend over $450,000 in drug forfeiture funds on a slew of new equipment and training for law enforcement personnel.
The expenditure of $458,006 is expected to be considered by the full county board tomorrow, Thursday, May 19 at its 9:30 a.m. meeting in the Board of Commissioners’ Auditorium.
Included in the proposed expenditure is $65,916 for additional Tasers; $73,000 for a comparison microscope; $40,000 for eight SRT-Knight Armament sniper rifles; about $25,000 each for a forensic computer and deputy supplies; $28,000 for a new K-9 vehicle; and $61,842 for a firearms comparison microscope.
Training at Camp Grayling, a latent print development chamber, a $3,000 donation to Crime Stoppers of Michigan, camera systems and night enforcer kits for the Fugitive Apprehension Team, and gear for five additional members of the department and cold weather gear for 33 members are also included in the proposed expenditure.
According to county documents, the Sheriff’s Department has, as of Monday, May 2, just shy of $1.44 million currently available for such purchases, as established by a state law that allows the court system to distribute property and funds forfeited through narcotic seizures to law enforcement agencies to be used toward the enhancement of law enforcement efforts related to enforcing the Controlled Substances Act.
While $458,006 would be used for this round of equipment purchases, the department also expects to seek a heftier expenditure later this year — totaling $638,000 — to overhaul the engine on Air One, one of the Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit’s two helicopters, and implementing a patrol rifle program.
The engine rebuilding, which is on hold until the end of the year, would cost $350,000; while implementing the patrol rifle program is on hold until the department is able to transition to be able to facilitate providing law enforcement services to Pontiac, a move that was contentious not only in the city, but also among county board members earlier this year.
Major Robert Smith of the Sheriff’s Department said the department currently has a patrol rifle program in which M-14 rifles are in squad cars while deputies are on patrol. The department, Smith said, has the opportunity to move to an M-16 semi-automatic rifle, about 150 of which the department is getting from the U.S. military.
Commissioner John Scott (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield) said he expects the expenditure, which is on the board’s consent agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, to be easily approved.
Smith said “very soon” after the board’s approval, the department will begin to make the various purchases.