FLINT, Mich. – July 26, 2022
At Mayor Sheldon Neeley’s request, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has granted $850,000 to the City of Flint to support the Flint Police Department’s public safety programs.
These programs include a citywide gun bounty, a cold case resolution unit in the police department, and development of a witness protection program. The grant funding also allows the Flint Police Department’s Intelligence Center to function 24/7, as well as assists with overtime pay for officers who are working extra hours to prevent and respond to crime throughout the city.
“I am thankful for the Mott Foundation’s support in addressing our urgent need to curb violent crime in our city,” Mayor Neeley said. “This grant provides crucial tools for increasing the capacity of our personnel and enhancing our public safety infrastructure.”
Mayor Neeley urgently requested the grant in the aftermath of Memorial Day weekend, which saw four shootings over a 24-hour period. As the Flint Police Department continues to grapple with high incidences of violent crime, the program takes a holistic approach to solving and preventing crime in the city.
“The Mott Foundation cares deeply about the safety of all Flint residents in all Flint neighborhoods, and residents have repeatedly told us that public safety continues to be a top priority for them,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO. “City officials requested funds to help the police department in its efforts to serve and protect the entire Flint community, and we’re pleased to provide support to help bolster their work.”
Flint City Gun Bounty Program
The Mott grant will support efforts by the Flint Police Department and the Detroit Crime Commission to implement a gun bounty program. The program will allow citizens to sell specific types of privately owned automatic weapons to the Flint Police Department, no questions asked, for cash on the spot.
The City of Flint’s goal is to take and keep dangerous weapons out of circulation by offering the full street value of the weapons as an incentive. All weapons collected will be destroyed. “We will never resell dangerous weapons that threaten the safety of Flint residents,” Mayor Neeley said.
24/7 Operation of FPD Intelligence Center
The grant will also fund three Analysts in the Flint Police Department’s Intelligence Center, as well as surveillance equipment, including wireless closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and a drone fleet. This month, Intelligence Center Analysts’ support led to the capture of Paris Alexander, who threatened to carry out a mass shooting at a General Motors facility.
Since its establishment in 2017, the Intelligence Center has analyzed crime trends in the city and assisted with properly allocating resources to the police. It has demonstrated success in shortening police response times, especially to priority-one calls that are reserved for violent crime situations including shootings, stabbings, domestic violence, and other emergencies. The grant funding will bring the Intelligence Center up to 24-hour coverage and lay a foundation for the center’s technology infrastructure.
New FPD Cold Case Unit
Flint Police Department under-staffing has resulted in a backlog of criminal cases awaiting investigation and analysis. Grant funding would allow the City of Flint to hire retired police officers and detectives to focus exclusively on the resolution of cold cases. Solving these cold cases lowers the chances of un-apprehended perpetrators continuing to commit offenses.
Witness Protection Program
Witness protection increases the likelihood that witnesses to a crime feel safe enough to collaborate with law enforcement. The Mott grant would enable the City of Flint to collaborate with the Genesee County Justice Department to develop effective and reliable measures that lessen the risk faced by witnesses.
Overtime Pay for Officers
The grant would also provide funds for police overtime pay. While finding ways to increase the number of full-time officers in Flint, the City hopes to ensure that the current police force is adequately and fairly compensated for the inevitable overtime they will have to work preventing and responding to crime.
Public safety programs aim to keep crime trending downward
On July 23, 2021, Mayor Neeley declared a state of emergency in Flint due to a rise in gun violence threatening the health and quality of life of all City of Flint residents. To tackle this public safety crisis, five police mini-stations were reopened, 22 more police officers were hired, and 15 grants were awarded to local groups supporting community crime prevention.
Police Chief Terence Green notes that homicide rates are down 20% this year compared to 2021, attributing the drop to programs that were implemented this time last year.
From January 1 to April 17 of 2022, there were 367 violent crimes compared to 492 during the same months in 2021. This represents a 25.41% decrease, but the city has more work to do to keep crime rates down.
“We’ve seen violent crime trending down as a result of public safety programs implemented over the past year, and I’m confident that the proposed new programs will keep those crime rates trending down even further,” Mayor Neeley said.
During Mayor Neeley’s ARPA community conversations throughout the city this past spring, residents identified public safety as a top concern. The proposed public safety programs directly respond to community needs, taking a holistic approach to violence prevention and response.