Flint police officer no longer 'babysitting' City Council members

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FLINT (WJRT) (3/13/2019) - The Flint police officer who used to "babysit" City Council meetings has been reassigned, leaving no dedicated law enforcement presence.

"(With) 100 more officers, we probably could assign a babysitter to council. This time we can't," Flint Police Det. Sgt. Tyrone Booth said.

The officer previously assigned to monitor City Council meetings has a new assignment.

"At the height of the water crisis people were mad and they were coming to Council and expressing those frustrations," Booth said. "So, it made sense to put an officer there to deal with any issues that were law breaking issues. We never had that happen. Instead, the officer deals with issues related to council members among each other."

Booth said the Flint police chief appointed the officer who formerly attended City Council meetings to the newly-formed child abuse task force.

"To have an officer sitting in a place to govern professionals and their behavior is not a good way to utilize police resources when the community and the citizens of the city of Flint need those resources," he said.

Councilwoman Eva Worthing, who represents the 9th Ward, was not pleased to hear about the police department's lack of staffing at meetings.

"That actually is pretty upsetting to hear that he said that," she said. "As much as I am a teacher and I feel that there's childish behavior on that council, that's one, maybe two people out of nine. And, it's unfair to group us all together."

Worthing said she immediately noticed the officer's absence Monday and mentioned it multiple times.

"That's a safety concern, not only for me, but members of the audience," she said. "It can get contentious, not just between council members, but between those who come and council and among themselves."

Booth added officers haven't made any arrests in the meetings, but at least one council member has been escorted out more than once.

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