Flint, Mich – Mayor Karen Weaver and Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson held a press conference Friday to provide the public with accurate information regarding the City of Flint supported Police Activities League (PAL) program. They wanted to set the record straight about efforts Flint Police are making to ensure the youth of Flint continue to benefit from the ongoing PAL sponsored activities coordinated by current and former members of the Flint Police Department.
“We are in total support of our PAL program,” stated Mayor Weaver. “Anyone who says otherwise is just not telling the truth.”
Weaver made the comments after learning of reports that some community leaders said the mayor and police chief were not in support of the PAL program.
Another group, not supported by the Flint Police Department, is running a program for youth under the name PAL Corp. Inc. It was once associated with Flint Police, but organizers stopped involving Flint police officers and the police chief didn’t approve of some activities the group sponsored or how funds were being used to pay salaries instead of going toward activities for the youth. The two groups parted ways earlier this year. However, the Flint Police Department is still operating a PAL program. City officials have suggested the other group change its name to eliminate confusion.
“The P in PAL stands for Police,” commented Chief Johnson. “How can you have a PAL program without the involvement of the police department?”
The issue gained more attention this week after Mayor Weaver vetoed the budget put forth by Flint City Council. Some council members stated the mayor and chief were trying to take away the program for the kids. Mayor Weaver said that is simply not true.
“I fully support the PAL program that is affiliated with the City of Flint Police Department,” said Weaver. PAL Corp., Inc. is no longer affiliated with Flint Police therefore, funding for that program should not come from the City of Flint. And I also want it to be clear that I am in support of the funding for the Hasselbring and Brennan Senior Centers.”
Officials also addressed comments made that some kids can’t get to the new location where the police department’s PAL program is based, now that it is no longer located at the Haskell Community Center.
“We provide transportation, so no kids miss out,” commented Officer Brian Willingham. “All the kids, or their parents, have to do is call me and arrangements will be made.”
Willingham said he can be reached at (810) 513-1407 or via email at [email protected].
Willingham works closely with the kids in the City’s PAL program. He brought about 12 of the kids involved to the press conference Friday. They won a football championship back in December and brought along their trophy to show off. After taking a picture with Mayor Weaver, many said they appreciate her, the police chief and all the officers involved in PAL and the time they give to show them there is a better way.
Both Mayor Weaver and Chief Johnson agreed it is unfortunate that this type of back and forth has to go on. But with so much false information being circulated, they said they felt they had to address the matter head on.