(08/04/11) - More help is on the way in Flint's fight against crime. Starting Monday, more Flint police officers will be on patrol and a team of trained volunteers will soon be helping behind the scenes.
The 68th District Court's move back to the McCree Building should be completed early next week. The move will free up six officers who had been assigned to court security at the Great Lakes Tech Center and Flint City Hall. Those officers will get their new assignments Monday. Some will go after those who are stealing scrap aluminum and copper.
Flint Police Chief Alvern Locke will evaluate where most illegal scrapping is happening and then plot a strategy to catch those doing it. "Right now we're starting with two officers. If we have to increase it, we will increase it. But we need to have someone assigned to scrap."
In about two months, a team of volunteers will be assisting Flint police officers through the Blue Badge program. After a background check and some classroom work, they will be cleared to lend a hand with crowd and traffic control.
"Our volunteers can assist the citizens and all the visitors that we may have coming," said Tanya Meeks, Flint police officer and Blue Badge program coordinator.
The volunteers will be assigned blue identification badges, but will have no police authority.
"They will be equipped with radios or cell phones. Of course, we'll have our uniform officers out in the area also. The volunteers will just call and report what they see," Meeks added.
Blue Badge volunteers might also help out at police headquarters and at mini-stations.
"We have looked at different police departments throughout the United States and we found they are using a lot of volunteers," said Meeks.
It is hoped that the Blue Badge program will free up officers for patrol and other law enforcement duties.
Those interested in becoming a Flint Police Blue Badge volunteer can contact Tanya Meeks at (810) 237-6926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.