flint police

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Police Department is getting some help meeting its need for training and new equipment.

For years, the Flint Police Department has struggled with budget cuts.

Now the Flint Police Foundation is stepping in to fill some of the gaps.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Police Department is using a new tool to crack down on prostitution: Facebook. 

The department plans to post the photos of people arrested on prostitution charges on its Facebook page.

Police Chief James Tolbert says his department has been trying to curb prostitution in Flint. But he says repeated arrests and sweeps have not eliminated the problem.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is rejoining Genesee County’s 911 system.

Since 1997, the city has been using its own operators to handle emergency calls, but the city’s system is aging and out-of-date.

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley says the plan is to fold Flint into the county’s 911 system by the middle of next year.

“Our citizens will have access to the most up to date features of next-generation 911, which will include the ability to send text or photos to 911 and other more cutting edge technology,” says Earley.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint police are launching a new effort this week to clear a backlog of misdemeanor warrants.

The department has more than 23,000 misdemeanor warrants on its books. Some of them date back to the 1970’s.

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert says these warrants for relatively minor offenses can lead to major problems for police.

“Because they’re wanted, they run for us. They engage in high-speed pursuits,” says Tolbert. 

Tolbert says “Operation Fresh Start” lets people resolve their outstanding warrants without being arrested. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State Police troopers faced a barrage of criticism during a community meeting in Flint today. Much of the complaints centered on recent fatal auto accidents involving state troopers.

It was a sometimes emotional three hour meeting between Flint residents and state police commanders.

Many people, including family members of two women killed in auto accidents linked to car chases involving state troopers, blasted the state police.

“You don’t even have a 'Plan B' when you’re chasing somebody,” a woman in the audience, “That just doesn’t make any sense, to come here as a professional and kill people who were not even involved in what you were dealing with.”

Dozens of Michigan State Police troopers are patrolling Flint city streets and assisting with investigations in the city.  The troopers are augmenting Flint's depleted police department, which has been decimated in recent years by budget cuts.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Frustration of about the presence of Michigan State Police troopers patrolling Flint hit the street today.

Flint city councilman Wantwaz Davis organized a rally that brought out more than 100 people to Flint city hall.  Davis says state troopers are driving on city streets “like renegades and cowboys.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Flint city council members and residents are expressing frustration with the way the city’s emergency manager is handling the creation of next year’s budget.

“We deserve better,” said one of the dozens of Flint residents who turned out for a public hearing on the proposed two-year city budget Monday night. 

The plan includes eliminating 36 police positions and 19 firefighter jobs. The budget also calls for raising Flint’s already high water and sewer rates by 6% a year for each of the next two years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Flint police officers are getting out from behind a desk today and getting back on the street. 

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert calls it ”inside-out" – taking police officers who usually spend their day doing administrative work and putting them into a patrol car.

He says that adds nine to 18 more patrol cars on Flint streets at a time.

“I know we’ve made multiple arrests today,” Tolbert said on Friday. “We’re getting people with warrants off the street … you’re serving multiple purposes all at the same time.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Police Department is taking a new approach to solving one of its biggest problems: money.

Flint’s declining tax base has meant deep cuts to the city’s police department for well over a decade. The result has been fewer police officers working with increasingly aging equipment.

The new Flint Police Foundation is intended to help fill the gap between the department’s needs and what its budget will allow.

The foundation will search for donors who can either provide cash or equipment.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A consultant is being brought in to assess what can be done with the city of Flint’s public safety department.

Budget cuts and smaller workforces have strained Flint’s police and fire departments in recent years.

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley says efforts to reorganize the city's public safety departments have "really brought into question" their effectiveness.

He says the goal of the new study is to translate the city's financial resources into the public safety services the community needs.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

New Flint Police Chief James Tolbert says he wants to “make Flint safe for the people who live here, (and) the people who visit here”

This is the first day on the job for Tolbert.  He previously served for more than 25 years in the Detroit Police Department, where he rose to Deputy Chief. 

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

How the government shutdown will affect Michigan

  • Several food and other assistance programs for the poor will be affected sooner than most.
  • Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ health programs will not be affected by the shutdown.
  • An unknown number of federal employees in Michigan are being furloughed.
  • Michigan’s National Parks will have to close.

More information on the shutdown can be found here.

Michiganders can shop for health plans today

"Officials will release premium information for 73 Michigan health plans today. The release coincides with the first day of a six-month enrollment window," the Associated Press reports.

New chief of police in Flint

Flint has a new police chief.

"James Tolbert was appointed to the job yesterday, three days after Flint Police Chief Alvern Lock announced his resignation. Tolbert comes to Flint from Detroit, where he served as deputy police chief," the Associated Press reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s Public Safety Director is resigning.

Alvern Lock submitted his resignation today. 

Alvern Lock has overseen Flint’s police and fire departments since 2009, when he was appointed to the job by then-interim mayor Mike Brown.  He submitted his letter of resignation to Mike Brown, just days before Brown himself will step down as Flint’s emergency manager.   Flint’s new emergency manager starts next month.  Brown will stay at city hall through the end of October.

Lock spent 23 years as a Flint police officer before retiring in 2006.

Flint, Mich.
Flint Michigan / Facebook.com

It isn't every day when the President of the United States turns to you for advice.

 But Flint's Mayor Dane Walling is now in that relatively small group who can say exactly that. Mayor Walling was among 18 mayors who sat down in a White House meeting with President Obama. The topic: how to reduce violence among young people -- something Dane Walling is faced with every single day. That's because Flint is among the top U.S. cities of more than 50,000 people with the worst crime rates. Mayor Dane Walling joined us today. Listen to the interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint police department will soon get even more help patrolling its city’s streets.

26 Michigan state troopers currently assist Flint’s police officers. That number will expand next month, though the exact number is not yet known.

Flint could use the help.  Recently the city has seen a spate of violent crime that left seven people dead, including two children, in just six days.  Two suspects are in custody.  Police are looking for two other suspects.   

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Flint's police chief may not get invited to summer barbecues with his officers.

The police union says Chief Alvern Lock got a no-confidence vote from 85 percent of officers who cast a ballot. Seventy percent of 85 members participated.

The Flint Journal says the ballot mentioned a "lack of planning to increase staffing" to protect the public. Lock says he didn't know anything about the vote and had no reaction.

Mayor Dayne Walling disagrees with the union's position and calls Lock one of the Flint's hardest-working employees.

Google Maps

With all the problems in Flint and Detroit, it's no surprise we see these cities end up on "most dangerous cities" lists.

The lists are generated using violent crime statistics from the FBI's annual "Uniform Crime Reports."

But all cities have neighborhoods prone to crime and many other neighborhoods that are not. They are safe, for the most part.

Location, Inc. says they took data from the FBI and other "exclusive data" developed by the company to rank the safety of specific neighborhoods around the country. 

Earlier this month, they released their list, Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in America, on their website NeighborhoodScout. There are six Michigan neighborhoods on the list. The top three are in Detroit.

(Click on the street names below to see a map of the neighborhoods.)

  1. Detroit (West Chicago / Livernois Avenue)
  2. Detroit (Mack Avenue / Helen Street)
  3. Detroit (Gratiot Avenue / Rosemary)
  4. Detroit (Wyoming Street / Orangelawn Street)
  5. Saginaw (East Holland Avenue / East Genesee Avenue)
  6. Flint (Chambers Street / Stonegate Drive)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

There are seven new police officers patrolling the streets of Flint. They were hired as part of a public safety millage approved by Flint voters last November.

The millage is expected to generate $5.3 million this year, but what's going to happen in future years as the population keeps shrinking and property values drop?

With the recent hiring of seven officers, the Flint Police Department now has 124 officers. That is down from an estimated 350 officers when times were better.

Will these new officers help make a dent in Flint's crime rate? Flint is in the unenviable spot near the top of many of the "most violent city" lists.

Kevin Smith is the president of the Flint Police Officer's Association.

He mentioned that the seven new officers won't make a big difference any time soon.  We asked what it would take, in terms of staffing, to make Flint noticeably safer.

To hear the full interview, click the link above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state Treasury Department is changing the rules for people hired by emergency financial managers.

Barnett Jones was hired last year as Flint’s Public Safety Administrator by the city’s emergency manager.  He resigned earlier this month after it was discovered he had a second full time job as the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department security director.

To avoid having that happen again, the state Treasury Department is inserting language in future contracts that says emergency financial manager appointees can not engage in other employment, unless approved by the EFM.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Protesters gathered in Flint to voice their opposition to the emergency manager in their city.

Since last December, Michael Brown, Flint's emergency manager, has been making decisions normally reserved for city council and the mayor. He's expected to present his budget plan for the city during a public meeting with Flint City Council tonight.

Kristin Longley of the Flint Journal reports the protestors gathered outside Flint City Hall before moving inside.

The group of more than 25 Flint residents and community members braved the rain to protest what they consider "taxation without representation" under the emergency manager in Flint.

Brown adopted a budget plan last week that includes fee increases for Flint residents as well as a possible reduction of 19 police officers and 31 firefighters through layoffs and attrition. Overall, city personnel would be reduced by about 150 positions.

Longley reports lifelong Flint resident Ralph Arellano would be willing to pay more taxes for better public safety in Flint - Arello said the emergency manager system "is undemocratic and undermines voters."

"It's all about public safety. There's not one person who lives in Flint who doesn't have some story about public safety," said Arellano, who said his home has been broken into twice. "The decisions they're making are short-term and they're short-sighted."

Protestors put up garage sale signs with the names of some of Flint's assets (ex. Brennan Park and Hurley Hospital) that could be sold off by Michael Brown should he decide to do so.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown says two police unions have tentatively approved new contracts with the city.

More from Kristin Longley at the Flint Journal:

The members of the Flint sergeants union and the lieutenants and captains union voted on the proposed contracts Thursday, he said.

Brown said it was a significant accomplishment that the parties were able to reach a consensus. The city's four public safety unions have been operating under expired contracts for more than two years.

Details have yet to be released. Brown said he expects to sign the contracts soon to make them official.

The Flint Police Department received a $1.2 million grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation. The grant will hire more police officers, pay for more equipment, and use community policing techniques.

Merry Morash, professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University said, "The focus on Flint is really because Mott Foundation, which is funding this, is highly invested in the city and wants to promote a very positive environment and Mott Foundation is located in Flint." 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling took issue with two reports on crime in Flint and police layoffs: an article published in the New York Times; and a WJBK Fox 2 news report.

Both were by reporter Charles LeDuff.

Here are some excerpts from Walling's letter posted on votewalling.com:

...I am deeply disturbed by yet another cheap shot at the City of Flint.

Flint has set a new record for murders in the city in a single year.   


This comes at a time when the city plans to lay off 20 police officers later this week. 


Flint recorded its 62nd murder of the year on Monday.  That broke Flint’s previous record of 61 murders in a year set back in 1986, when the city of Flint was much larger.  There are no suspects in Flint’s 62nd homicide of the year. 


And beginning Friday, there will be fewer police officers in Flint. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A contract dispute between Flint's mayor and the city's public safety unions escalated Tuesday.



Tuesday, the city of Flint sent layoff notices to 20 police officers. The city and the police unions have not been able to agree on major contract concessions to help reduce a projected budget deficit.