Genesee County Sheriff pitches state funded task force again - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Genesee County Sheriff pitches state funded task force again

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(01/23/13) - Another battle is brewing over the best way to fight crime in Flint.

Genesee County's Sheriff says the current plan is not working and he has one that will.

The state has been funding efforts in Flint, including the city lockup and extra state police trooper patrols.

"I respect what Flint Police and state police are doing right now, but it's simply not working," says Sheriff Robert Pickell.

Flint saw 66 homicides in 2012. That ties the all time high set back in 2010.

Pickell is once again pitching a violent crime mobile response unit - a 19 person multi-jurisdictional task force to relentlessly pursue the worst of the worst, he says.

The cost is about $3 million for the first year.  The state said no last time he asked last year.

This is the same proposal.

"The only thing I can add now is they had their way," Pickell says.

Pickell says the city's low lockup numbers show the state's current plan is flawed. He says it has only had about a 7 percent occupancy since it reopened about four months ago. His department is running the lockup.

State officials disagree and say their efforts are working.

"The work being done by public safety officials is beginning to create positive change. This is the right strategy to protect the citizens of Flint and we need to stay the course," says Caleb Buhs with the Department of Treasury.

State officials say more than 1,000 criminals have been lodged in the lockup since it opened again, adding the crime problem in Flint didn't occur overnight and the solution will not take place overnight either.

"We believe we already have enough task forces.  If we got additional money we would really like to see those task forces supplemented with more people," says Flint Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz.

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