JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – J-Net or the Jackson Narcotics Enforcement Team is the primary way police agencies in Jackson County fight drug crimes.
With budget cuts to some police departments, J-Net is forced to do more with less.
J-Net is comprised of undercover officers from Michigan State Police, the Jackson County office of the sheriff and Jackson City Police.
With more than 20 heroin related deaths in Jackson County so far this year, much of J-Net’s energy is being used to fight heroin specifically.
6 News spoke with J-Net officer, Lisa Gee-Cram who says more officers aren’t just wanted, they’re needed to fight heroin in Jackson County.
“If I had more bodies then we would certainly be able to make a more permanent I guess, or dedication to the problem,” said Det. Lt. Lisa Gee-Cram, J-Net.
But with police budgets already tight and with looming cuts ahead, some police agencies simply can’t afford to send more officers to J-Net.
“We’re facing a half a million dollar cut in 2016. It’s not practical to want to expand a unit when we’re cutting police officers on the street,” said Steven Rand, Jackson County Sheriff.
Sheriff Steven Rand says even though heroin problems have turned to epidemic levels his priority needs to be having officers to send to 911 calls. But he says with the upcoming cuts, the sheriff’s office will have to drop three positions.
“That’s three less people to go to calls for service, three less people that could be possibly committed to an undercover drug team or something of that nature. It’s just less people to do the job,” said Steven Rand, Jackson County Sheriff.
Even with budget cuts officers are looking for other ways to fight the heroin problems the sheriff says his deputies will likely be carrying the anti-overdose medication Narcan within a few months.