(10/14/13) - It's the first day on the job for Flint's new top cop.
James Tolbert comes to Flint from the city of Detroit.
Tolbert is no stranger to policing a violent, urban city, and while he admits the police force faces big challenges, he believes change can be made.
Just one week after Darnell Earley took over as Flint's Emergency Manager, Earley formally introduced another key leader for the city of Flint.
Tolbert takes over at a time when Flint ranks among the most violent cities in America, much like Detroit, where he worked for 27 years.
Tolbert says he'll be a hands-on leader.
"Oh, you're going to see me. I'm from the school, you gotta, I manage by walking around. I'm out there with my officers and the people," he said.
Tolbert comes on board about two-weeks after Chief Alvern Lock resigned.
"A world of thanks to Chief Lock. Chief Alvern Lock has served this community through a tremendously difficult period," said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.
Both Walling and Lock urged community members to get involved and get behind the city's new top cop.
"Public safety is everyone's responsibility. With Chief Tolbert coming in, he'll bring a fresh perspective," Walling said.
"Let's make sure we give him all the cooperation that's needed," Lock said.
At the core of Tolbert's vision for public safety in Flint is community involvement. Chief Tolbert strongly believes if the city is going to become safer - everyone needs to get involved.
First up, Tolbert says a public safety plan needs to be created that involves churches, businesses, community leaders - and ordinary people.
"Our common goal here is to make sure that the city is safe, and we all benefit from that," he said.
Tolbert says it will take more than just police officers to make the plan work, but he also recognizes not everyone wants to help.
"We've got to go to them. We're going to go out in the neighborhood. We're going to talk to them in the neighborhood, we're going to go on their turf. And we have to break down those barriers about talking to the police," he said.
Once that happens, "You'll be surprised at what people can do, because we're all at the same buy in, we're all in the same picture," Tolbert said.
While the police force has shrunk in recent years, Tolbert said that is not a problem - just a challenge to overcome.
"One thing you'll learn about me, I'm not the guy that says something can't be done. I'm absolutely going to try. There's always a way that things can get done," he said.
Tolbert was involved in a community meeting at a church a little more than a week ago. He says expect to see many more meetings like that in the near-future.
We also learned Monday, there is no plan right now to have Tolbert serve as the Public Safety Director, as Lock did.
ABC12 Main Station