FLINT, Mich.—October 12, 2022
Officials announced at a press conference Oct. 11 that the City of Flint has received a total of $4 million in federal grant funding for two public safety initiatives, funded by the Department of Justice.
Mayor Sheldon Neeley thanked city staff for their grant writing and coordination work to access federal funds. He also thanked federal partners, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Gary Peters, and Congressman Dan Kildee, for their roles in bringing federal dollars to Flint.
“We are being very aggressive and intentional about capturing these additional dollars,” Mayor Neeley said. “These competitive dollars are available nationwide, and we are working very hard to capture these dollars, to put these dollars to work for the residents of this great city.”
$1.5 million for Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative (CVIPI)
According to Chief Resilience Officer Lottie Ferguson, the 3-year CVIPI grant will fund both planning and implementation of evidence-informed strategies to reduce and prevent violent crime in the City of Flint. The first year will be used specifically for planning of activities, and the following two years will be used with community partners for implementation of this grant.
Ferguson said this grant is a response to residents’ concerns about public safety, and aims to ensure that the City collaborates with a wide range of community partners to develop strategies for preventing violent crime. The City’s goal is to disrupt cycles of violence and retaliation and connect high-risk people with services to help them achieve wellness, healing, and long-term success.
The grant calls for residents, mental health service providers, community groups, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, victim advocates, service providers, as well as hospitals and other health care providers, to work together to develop targeted violence interventions and a community-wide, data- and performance-driven public health strategy.
Initial partners on the CVIPI grant include the Gun Violence Prevention Network, convened by Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and Michigan State University for research and evaluation.
$2.5 million for Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI)
The Dept. of Justice also awarded $2.5 million to renew the Flint Police Department’s ongoing Sexual Assault Kit Initiative for another three year period, Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2025.
Detective Sergeant Mona Patterson leads the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Cold Case Unit with a multidisciplinary team that takes a comprehensive approach to unsubmitted sexual assault kits.
Patterson’s team works in partnership with the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office and YWCA of Greater Flint to provide victim-centered services that promote justice and healing.
This grant renewal includes a new component, forensic genetic genealogy (FFG) testing. The SAKI team will identify sexual assault kits that can benefit from FFG testing, leading to suspect identification and location.
Since initially receiving funding from the Department of Justice in 2015, 770 unsubmitted sexual assault kits have been tested. About 200 cases have been forwarded for prosecution.
At least five serial rapists, including one child rapist, have been discovered and charged. One of these cases was connected to a human trafficking case from another state, with a total of 2,000 victims worldwide. In another case, a serial rapist was linked to 26 victims.
Detective Sgt. Patterson said it means a great deal to her to be able to resolve SAKI cold cases and pursue justice for survivors of sexual violence. “I’ve been in the department for over 25 years and I would say, since I’ve been in this unit, I’ve probably cried the most,” Detective Sgt. Patterson said. “Just being able to hear [the survivors’] stories and what’s connected to it, and just to see them get justice for what has happened to them in the past, means a great deal to me.”