Flint Police Chief responds to criticism of police response time

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FLINT (WJRT) - UPDATE: (09/15/16) - There are accusations of slow police response times - sometimes as long as 40 hours after a call to 911 - in Flint.

The concerns were raised during a public board meeting this week by county dispatch. Thursday, Flint's chief, Tim Johnson, defended his department and disputed some of the allegations.

Genesee County 911 Director, Dave Ackley, said Flint Police don't have enough officers to handle the crime, which causes 911 calls to back up.

Ackley believed as many as 20 officers were put on an undercover squad and pulled away from answering emergency calls.

Thursday, Johnson told ABC12 News there are eight officers on the Crime Area Target Team.

"The Crime Area Target Team that was put into place is working," Johnson said.

Johnson says the CATT squad acts completely undercover, but said he will work on better communication with dispatch to protect officers in case they need backup.

"The problem of communication has been keep and I think today (Thursday), we ironed out a lot of those issues," said Tim Jones, Genesee County 911 deputy director.

Johnson says since he was appointed in February, violent crime is down 40 percent and if it continues to drop it means less 911 calls.

"I would venture to say I'm praying to God that by Christmas we will be down 50 percent or better," Johnson said.

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(09/13/16) - There are real concerns from Genesee County 911 on the amount of time it's taking to get you help.

There are simply not enough officers on the streets in Flint to take the flood of 911 calls.

It's a problem for people living in the city but can cause delays for 911 calls coming in all over Genesee County.

As many as 1,600 calls come in each day from Flint alone. The same victims calling over and over again.

Veteran police officer and deputy director of Genesee County 911, Tim Jones, says the reason Flint residents are hitting redial is Flint Police are overloaded and can't respond to calls fast enough.

"Those calls continue to pile up," Jones said.

ABC12 News has been investigating the problems for months, sitting in with dispatchers to see what they deal with. The issue came to a head Tuesday at the Genesee County 911 monthly board meeting.

Director Dave Ackley says sometimes it takes more than 40 hours for a domestic violence call to get answered.

"Some of those calls are up there for 40, 42, 44 hours," Ackley said.

Ackley says recently 20 more Flint city officers were pulled from the street when Chief Tim Johnson started an undercover squad - the Crime Area Target Team, or CATT.

He says those officers now focus on drug busts and recovering weapons, but they don't respond to 911 calls.

As calls in the city go unanswered, Ackley says it can slow down response times outside of the city as their calls get pushed back.

We have reached out to Johnson, but he did not get back with us as of Tuesday afternoon.



 
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