See how Flint will use $411,000 federal coronavirus grant

To make both proactive and reactive efforts possible, Chief Phil Hart secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:28 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/17/2020) - Flint's Mayor and Police Chief said the City has seen a spike in violent crime over the last few months due to the pandemic.

To make both proactive and reactive efforts possible, Chief Phil Hart secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

More than $411,000 is coming to the City.

“Well, what we’ve seen across the country is, you know, crime is on the uprise everywhere. We have civil unrest, we have the pandemic and we have a lot of frustration going on,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said.

Flint's Mayor credited his chief of police with recognizing they needed outside resources to combat the rise in crime, rather than dipping into the City's already strapped budget.

Chief Hart applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and was awarded $411,348 for Flint.

He said the federal dollars will help them pay for officers’ overtime and hazard pay, as well as the increased need for personal protection equipment.

“Our concern isn’t just for the officer’s safety, that’s a great portion of it, but also the public that we come in contact with,” the Chief explained. “No one wants to be the person that infects someone. So we’re utilizing the resources to make sure that we are safe when we approach others, as they are safe when they approach us.”

The Chief explained they've had to break up several large pop-up parties over the last few weeks.

But, he also believes the mandate to have less people in the jail because of COVID-19 is contributing to the rise in crime.

“We have more officers out on the road; and, we are now actually forming a small group that will go out and handle specifically looking for people who have already committed crimes that we have warrants for them to bring them in,” he said. “So that we can get them off the street and stop what is happening currently.”

The two are also encouraging the community to speak up, whether they have information on a crime committed or have concerns about people disobeying coronavirus restrictions.

“Knowing African Americans have been grossly impacted by this, if you lost a loved one, a friend or neighbor, you know that this is real,” Mayor Neeley said. “And so, we all have a responsibility, and no one should shake their responsibility and give it to another, as they engage in activity that’s not conducive to a whole community healing.”

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