james tolbert

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

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

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 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.”

Sarah Cwiek / 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.

The city of Flint may soon propose new regulations on pawn shops and scrap yards.

Flint police chief James Tolbert says he’s concerned about “the crime behind the crime” of burglaries in the city.

He’s looking at a new ordinance for city pawn shops and scrap yards.

“We’re working on a way where we can better monitor what goes in and goes out,” says Tolbert, though he declined to say exactly how that would be done.

Tolbert says he’s also been talking with other Genesee County chiefs of police about the problem.

Third Coast Surf Shop

Flint’s police chief says violent crime is down in his city, despite the city reaching a grim milestone this past week.

Last Sunday, 16 year old Wesley Gillmore became the 50th person murdered in Flint this year.   Flint has notched at least fifty homicides in each of the last four years. The city set a record with 67 murders in 2012.

Still police Chief James Tolbert says Flint’s violent crime rate is improving, down 29% in the last 11 months.

To keep that downward direction, Tolbert says the public’s help is needed.

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.