Flint police

mayor virg bernero at microphone with crowd behind him
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Lansing officials are stepping up efforts to pass a renewal of the capital city’s public safety millage in next month’s election.

The millage was first approved by Lansing voters in 2011. The intent was to replace the millions of dollars the city lost in property tax revenues after property values fell sharply during the Great Recession. 

Chief Johnson says these old badges were found in storage
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Flint’s police department is looking to add dozens of reserve officers to its ranks.

The first 30 volunteers will undergo training starting later this month.  

Police Chief Tim Johnson says the reserve officers will play an important role.

“We need to bridge that gap between the citizens and the police department,” says Johnson.

The citizen volunteers will fill in-house roles and on occasion assist officers in the field. Johnson says the reserve officers will carry weapons.

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The Flint police department is expanding its K9 division.

The specially trained dogs are used to track suspects and find illegal drugs.

Flint police chief Tim Johnson credits his department’s four-legged officers with helping reduce crime in the city. Johnson says the dogs do things two-legged officers can’t.

“Let’s face it, even when it comes to tracking a suspect that has committed a crime, and gotten away before we had a chance to get in pursuit of him, a dog it enables us to track him,” says Johnson.

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The Flint police department is taking a more aggressive stance on crime.

Standing before a conference table piled high with guns, drugs and $18,000 cash, Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson says a new unit has spent the past few weeks cracking down on street crime.

“This would have been on the streets if it wouldn’t have been for the efforts of the Crime Area Target team,” says Johnson. “There’s probably a lot more out there than we have on this table. I’m quite sure it is.”

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Flint’s new police and fire chiefs are now on the job.

The city’s state oversight board today approved hiring Tim Johnson as Flint’s new top cop and Raymond Barton as Flint’s new fire chief.

Barton is promising changes to the way the city’s undermanned fire department is deployed. He says his predecessor, David Cox, asked too much of Flint’s firefighters.

“Sometimes he put a lot of stress on the firefighters having them work with less,” says Barton.

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A divided Flint city council approved Mayor Karen Weaver’s picks for the city’s new police and fire chiefs during a raucous meeting tonight. 

Earlier this month, Weaver fired the city’s police and fire chiefs, who were both hired by the city’s former emergency managers.    

An overflow crowd jammed Monday night’s city council meeting. The audience cheered council members who talked of voting for Tim Johnson for police chief and Raymond Barton for fire chief. The crowd booed the council members who spoke out against the picks or the process.

James Tolbert
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The heads of Flint's police and fire departments are out of those jobs.

Mayor Karen Weaver said Friday in a press release she's restructuring city operations and has accepted the resignations of Police Chief James Tolbert and Fire Chief David Cox Jr. She's also fired City Administrator Natasha Henderson.

“I’m doing what I told the people who voted for me that I would do," says Weaver, "My focus is moving the City of Flint forward and I feel these personnel changes are necessary to keep us on the right path.”

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Flint police are reviewing an incident where a city police officer handcuffed a child at a Flint school.

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert says he has apologized to the mother of the child who was handcuffed. 

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The Flint police department is looking for 100 volunteers to help patrol city neighborhoods during Halloween.

The holiday falls on a Saturday this year. 

Police Chief James Tolbert says the volunteers can help police by reporting suspicious activity.

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A Flint police officer has lost his job because of a post on his Facebook page.

Police Chief James Tolbert says Robert Garceau violated the department's social media and code of conduct policies with a Facebook post after a recent double shooting. One man died and another was critically wounded. 

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Gun violence has claimed 11 lives in Flint in the past two weeks.

As police work to solve the murders, the community is left to find its own answers.

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The Michigan State Police say they are seizing more illegal firearms in Flint.

This as the city reels from 11 gun-related murders in two weeks.

First Lt. Tom Kish is the state police post commander in Flint. Wednesday he stood next to a table filled with hand guns and long guns confiscated by troopers in the past two weeks.

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After 11 murders in two weeks,  law enforcement officials say the city of Flint is facing a crisis.

Police have made five arrests and have suspects in four other cases. But the double murder of a one-year-old boy and a 71-year-old woman remains unsolved.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This story was updated at 1:49 pm on 8/11/15

Flint officials will meet this evening to look for money to hire more police officers.

There have been eleven murders in the past 2 weeks.  The latest victim was shot and killed last night.  So far this year, Flint has seen 35 homicides.  That’s more than in all of 2014.  

Budget cuts have dramatically reduced the size of Flint’s police force in recent years.    

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Thousands of people will be in Flint this week for the annual ‘Back to the Bricks’ auto showcase and cruise.

Flint police Captain Collin Bernie says a 6 p.m. teen curfew will be in effect again this year.

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Flint’s police chief says a crackdown on ‘parking lot partying’ is paying off. 

Convenience and party store parking lots have been a place to ‘hang out’ in Flint for years. But Police Chief James Tolbert says many people have been doing more than hanging out. The ‘parking lot partying’ has also included illegal drug use and prostitution.   Violent crime has also been an issue. 

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Flint’s police chief says a campaign to persuade city residents to talk to police is having an effect.

The "Stop the Silence" campaign asks people to share what they know about crimes with law enforcement.

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The party’s over for parking lot partiers in Flint.

Police Chief James Tolbert says convenience store parking lots have become a place to hang out for some people. He says this often means drinking, illegal drug use and prostitution.  

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Flint police spent part of this past week reaching out to the city’s teenagers.

"It’s all about safety,” Police Chief James Tolbert told students at Flint Southwestern Classical Academy.   Tolbert spoke during a session on things the teenagers can do to avoid trouble.

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Flint city leaders are discussing a city budget without a deficit.  That’s a very big deal. 

“For the first time, in a decade, the city of Flint, as of July 1, will be in a positive financial situation,” says Flint Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose.

Ambrose delivered the proposed city budget to the city council Monday.

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FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Flint police say sexual assault kits discovered unprocessed in a department evidence room are being examined with help from a TV show.

Chief James Tolbert said Thursday some of the nearly 250 kits date back as early as 2003 and the testing of 71 kits has helped identify six possible suspects.

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The Flint Police Department is missing dozens of firearms.

The department says it can’t find 22 firearms. An inventory completed last month showed the missing shotguns and hand guns.

That’s on top of 17 firearms the police department says have been stolen from the department since 1996.  

Jason Lorenz / City of Flint

Flint Police K9 Officer Edo received a bullet resistant vest in a special ceremony today, after a crowdfunding campaign started by a neighborhood association successfully raised $3,500 online to buy the vest.

Officer Edo is a German shepherd, born and trained in Poland before being donated to Flint last year as the city’s sole K9 officer.

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A consultant’s report says Flint police should stop responding to non-emergency 911 calls. The consultants say that would give police more time to investigate violent crimes in Flint. 

That’s just part of a report delivered by a Washington, D.C. consulting group to the Flint city council, mayor, emergency manager, as well as the city’s police and fire chiefs last night. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.”