Flint Mayor Dayne Walling was joined by Flint Police Chief James Tolbert and Michigan State Police Flint Post Commander First Lieutenant Tom Kish along with detectives from both departments during a press conference to provide details on recent major cases and the next steps in public safety for Flint. Mayor Walling pointed out that the partnership between the Flint Police Department and Michigan State Police has been and continues to be of great benefit to the City of Flint. “The hard work of that partnership between the Flint Police Department and the Michigan State Police continues to show in the results of the homicide investigations,” said Mayor Walling, “including the incidents which have occurred in the past two weeks.”
Mayor Walling discussed a plan first mentioned to City Council during the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, August 10 to boost the FPD with a plan to hire five to ten more Flint police officers as soon as funding for them can be found in the general budget. “Any change we would make to staffing would need to be budget neutral,” said Mayor Walling, “we have a responsibility to make sure every dollar we have can make a positive impact in our community.” The City of Flint has been actively seeking to hire police officers to fill vacancies for some time now. Those efforts will be ramping up as they look for even more officers, including sponsoring interested individuals through the police academy.
First Lieutenant Tom Kish, the commander of the MSP Flint post reaffirmed his department’s commitment to Flint in this time of crisis. “My department is allocating whatever resources are needed to bring resolution to this situation and restore peace of mind to the folks who live here, said F/Lt. Kish,” “We will be practicing rigorous enforcement in troubled areas to try identify individuals responsible for these crimes.” FPD and MSP detectives work in pairs to solve cases within the City of Flint as part of Flint’s Major Crimes Unit.
Of the 10 homicide incidents totaling 11 victims occurring since July 31, suspects are in custody in five of those cases with suspects in four others being sought. In the case of the double homicide in which a one year old child and his seventy year old caregiver were shot and killed, police are asking for the public’s help in providing information. “When a one year old gets killed by gunfire, it’s time for the community to stand together,” said Mayor Walling.
Captain Collin Birnie of the Flint Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau reminded residents that Crimestoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP would offer a reward for information leading to any felony arrest. “Somebody knows what happened that night,” said Cpt. Birnie, “we need them to call us with anything that could help.” Callers to either the Flint Police, Michigan State Police or Crimestoppers can choose to remain anonymous.