Police try new approach for Flint liquor license checks - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Police try new approach for Flint liquor license checks

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(07/25/12) - Crime in Flint is forcing police to find other ways to do liquor license checks.

Teams of officers were out twice already this week.

A Genesee County Community Mental Health grant is funding the enforcement.

Police would usually send an underage decoy in to a store or bar to see if they'd be allowed to buy alcohol.

But not in Flint now.

Police say it's too dangerous.

"We had to take a different approach," says Flint Township Police Lt. Tim Jones.

Tuesday night, ABC12 was with teams of Genesee County police, uniformed and undercover, as they hit a handful of party stores on the city's northside.

"We've never done this before, but we've not seen this kind of violence before in previous years of the grant," says Jones.

Instead of finding a teenager buying beer, for example, officers found two men suspected of selling crack cocaine.

They found life like guns and live rounds at another stop.

Police found three gambling machines at the last store they hit, Saba's Mini-Mart.

The machines alone are a major violation of state law, Jones says.

"We've now cited the stores," he says.

Officers also seized thousands of dollars in cash.

Three other machines were found Saturday during the first night officers were out.

Jones says guns and drugs were also seized Saturday night.

There were two foot chases and six people charged in drug crimes.

Officers, part of this multi-jurisdictional team, will go out once more.

Jones says his department is the fiduciary of the grant, but it operates through the Flint Area Narcotics Group, or FANG.

Police have processed state liquor violations forms for several stores already.

The one with the gambling machines could be facing large fines or suspensions of their licenses, according to Jones.  

Jones says 12-14 percent of Genesee County's nearly 800 licensed establishments are not complying with liquor laws.

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