'Back to the Bricks Law Enforcement Task Force' details safety p - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

'Back to the Bricks Law Enforcement Task Force' details safety plan

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(08/06/12) - It's almost time for one of Genesee County's biggest events. 'Back to the Bricks' rolls into town next week.

Last year, an estimated 420,000 people came to downtown Flint for Back to the Bricks.

This year, they're expecting even more - possibly half a million people.

Monday, police detailed a plan to keep each and every person safe. That's because there have been a few problems in the past.

A fight broke out after a rolling cruise through Burton last year. Later, there was a problem with other teens in downtown Flint.

Back to the Bricks organizer Al Hatch said it was a 'flash mob'.

Monday morning, the 'Back to the Bricks Law Enforcement Task Force' talked about how they plan to keep the peace.

New this year - they're including more fire and EMS workers in on their plan. They'll also have people closely watching the weather.

Most importantly, police say they're taking a zero tolerance stance on several things.

First - no alcoholic drinks are allowed on the streets, sidewalks or other public areas.

Second - police say things like spinning your tires, burnouts and drag racing are not allowed.

Third - whether you're teenager or adult, if you cause problems, you will be locked up.

Major offenders shouldn't expect a second chance.

"We're using both the Flint Jail and the Genesee County Jail this year," said Chief Tom Osterholzer of the Burton Police Department.

Police want people to have fun, but know if they ruin it for other people - they'll be dealt with.

"So that was the focus of both of the incidents we had last year, was quickly get the problem under control, disperse the crowds, and then the more serious offenders, yes got themselves arrested," Osterholzer  said.

Police hope ending the rolling cruises an hour earlier will help, too, but businesses want to see something else.

"The later on, obviously you want to see, you know, more visible police officers walking around,"  said Crystal Thornton, manager of 501 Bar and Grill and Wize Guys Pizza.

Thornton will get her wish.

"They'll see us down here. And you know, that's, just make people understand that you know this is a safe, family event," said Flint Police Chief Alvern Lock.

Firefighters and EMS are also playing a larger role this year. An alcohol education and prevention grant will help cover the costs.

"All we ask is that people enjoy themselves responsibly," Osterholzer said.

Thornton says she's happy with how things have been handled in years past, and is looking forward to another busy Back to the Bricks for her workers.

"Non-stop. We have everybody here, all day, especially Friday, Saturday. And nobody stops until Sunday," she said.

For a complete schedule of events, click HERE

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