Village officials talk drug task force

Over the past few months, investigations between the county Drug Task Force and Fredonia Police Department have yielded results in drug seizures and arrests.

Late last month, a months-long investigation by the task force and Fredonia police led to the arrest of Benjamin M. Grey for allegedly selling quantities of crystal methamphetamine to an agent of the task force in Fredonia. More than 20 grams of meth were seized during a traffic stop in Sheridan along with scales and packaging materials.

Fredonia police continue to work with the task force in an effort to keep dealers and drugs out of the community. However, the department doesn’t have a police officer assigned to the task force — and it hasn’t for years.

“I never felt we should have (left) that task force,” Chief Brad Meyers told trustees during a recent workshop. “As I’ve said in the past, if you have an officer assigned to the task force, they’re going to spend more time and pay more attention to the communities where officers and taxpayers are investing their money.”

As it stands now, the task force is comprised of investigators from the county Sheriff’s Office as well as the city of Dunkirk Police Department. By combining investigative efforts, the task force sets outs to identify and build cases against narcotics traffickers with the goal to identify and arrest the highest level traffickers.

For local police departments, an officer can be assigned to the task force. However, the respective department must pay for the full-time officer.

“We’d pay for him, but he would be with the task force,” Meyers said.

Meyers told trustees he doesn’t have the resources within his organization to put officers in cars to watch a house and build a case. When Meyers first took the job, he said the department had 16 police officers. Meyers told trustees the department now has 14.

“The last officer we lost was the drug task force officer,” he said.

Mayor Athanasia Landis said residents are calling the village to say they can tell what houses are selling drugs. Landis asked Meyers how much more attention the village would get if an officer was a member of the task force.

By assigning an officer to the task force, Meyers said it could bring the ability to take task force resources and watch a house to work a case.

“What might happen is they may have two undercover officers sitting on a house in the village and they may watch that house for a week and they may write down plates and get names and work a case,” he said.

Meyers is reminding the public to call the Fredonia Police Department if they feel there’s drug activity going on in the community. Meyers acknowledged information from the public is important.

“I know sometimes people call and then they don’t feel like anything is done. The truth is it takes a long time to work a drug case,” he said. “I know it seems like we’re not doing anything, but we are.”

The Fredonia Police Department can be reached at 679-1531.