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Former Flint police chief running for Sheriff reveals anti-crime plan

Take a look at the latest crime statistics in Flint and what the candidates for Genesee County Sheriff have to say about the numbers.
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:11 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/17/2020) - The former Flint police chief isn’t happy with the City’s most recent violent crime numbers.

He called for a change Friday, while campaigning for his run in the Genesee County Sheriff's race.

Timothy Johnson is running against the current Flint Police Chief, Phil Hart and current Genesee County Sheriff, Chris Swanson.

As of July 12th, so not accounting for crimes this week, the City of Flint reports the total number of homicides is up 12.5% compared to this time last year.

The City has seen 27 homicides in 2020.

“All you hear is gunshots going off -- fully automatic weapons being fired; and I mean, that’s in any sector of the City,” Johnson said.

The former Flint police chief believes there isn't enough police protection from the Flint Police Department and that's why violent crime is up across the City.

“If we stop the crime in Flint, we stop it in the County,” Johnson added.

To stop the violence in Flint, Johnson said Flint Police need to be proactive. That's why he said he created the Intelligence Center before resigning his position. The Center uses cameras to watch over the City.

He also wants officers stopping cars with clear violations, like no license plate.

Johnson explained these are efforts he'll implement if elected sheriff.

“They got cars that shouldn’t be on the road,” he said. “You start making traffic stops on those vehicles, you’re going to take guns off the street.”

Chief Phil Hart said that is what they're doing. The Intelligence Center is still operating.

Plus, he showed off about 500 guns that officers have taken off the streets of Flint. He said a majority of them were collected during his seven months in office.

But, Hart also credited partnerships with area agencies for making that possible. The Chief said those partnerships will be vital if he becomes the next sheriff.

“They can bring to the table their training, their education, but more importantly, those extra eyes to help us see,” he explained.

So why is violent crime increasing?

Hart said it's that way across the country. He pointed to the coronavirus pandemic -- more specifically, the mandate to have less people in the jail because of it.

“These reductions in numbers are putting people back out on the street that we know full well have committed other crimes because they’ve been released from the jail which, which was holding them before,” the Chief explained.

The current Sheriff, Chris Swanson, shared this statement with ABC12: “As Sheriff of Genesee County my office works hand-in-hand with police chiefs and law enforcement officials across our community, developing innovative ways to combat crime and protect our citizens. I encourage every police department in our County to continue to work together to make our community safer.”

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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