Flint public safety plan unveiled, called "work in progress" - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint public safety plan unveiled, called "work in progress"

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(05/04/12) - The plan was unveiled Friday morning by Emergency Manager Mike Brown, Public Safety Administrator Barnett Jones and Public Safety Director Alvern Lock.

There was no power in the building, because of an outage downtown, but plenty of powerful people pledging to do what they can to help restore safety in Flint.

Jones said they hope to have the city lock-up open again in July.

But still now word on who will operate it or how.

"We've talked about quite possibly partnering with the sheriff. We've looked at the private side," say Jones.

Jones and Lock did touch on technology and how that will play a part in public safety.

"We get real time data. We get that to the officers and we start holding the officers accountable for where they patrol and how they patrol," Jones says.

Officers will switch to 12-hour shifts and the city continues to work on a 911 system re-consolidation as well as getting Flint on the 800MHz communications system.

"We are handicapped because of communication," says Lock.

"Those are the things that are going to make it safer for the officers and firefighters in the city of Flint."

Michigan State Police will continue to maintain a presence.

MSP Lt./Col. Gary Gorski says the state will even be able to hopefully enhance its directed patrols when the lock-up is open again.

State police detective will be brought in to work with Flint Police detectives.

Barnett and Jones call it a Violent Crimes Task Force.

"We're going to look to support from the prosecutor's office and U.S. Attorney's Office and everywhere we can to put the criminals behind bars," Gorski said.

"My sleeves are rolled up and I know all yours are as well," says Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.

"We're going to match resource for resource with city," says Flint Post Commander F/Lt. Matt Bolger.

"We're trying to figure out exactly what that means. How many? Where they're going to work?  What shifts? What calls they're going to catch," says Bolger.

"Step one is obviously we have to lodge the people we arrest."

A Genesee County Criminal Justice Advisory Council is also being established.

The council, chaired by Genesee County Circuit Judge Richard Yuille, also chief judge of the county courts, will share information and make recommendations regarding possible changes in the criminal justice system. 

City leaders say they are looking at ways to get more money coming in.

Jones say 40% of the police force and 40% of fire department positions are funded by grants.

"We're not proposing a millage at this point. We're not proposing an income tax. Are those options that are out there? Yes. But to me that has to come from the public, from the community," says Brown.

Police and fire unions leaders were in the audience Friday asking about revenue ideas they've presented.

Trent Farnsworth, president of the firefighters union, says he's working on a private ambulance transport proposal.

Farnsworth says, with "modest" contributions from the government and city, it could bring in $938,000 - $1.2 million in just the first year alone.

"If we're going to talk revenue, let's talk revenue," Farnsworth says.


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