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Flint EM lays out public safety plan, city police and fire unions want more

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(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown outlines his public safety plan for the city, while behind him represents from the Michigan State Police and other agencies look on.

Flint Emergency Manager Mike Brown says the city plans to work more with the state police, as well as local and federal prosecutors, to fight the city’s crime problem.

The plan calls for establishing Flint not only as a ‘safe city’ in reality, but also in people’s perception.

Using outside law enforcement help is a short term part of the plan.   Long term, Brown says the city needs to raise millions of dollars in new revenue to hire more police officers and firefighters.

“I know if I present that to the community and just say ‘hey let’s raise your taxes’ or ‘raise your income tax’….it’s not going to fly,” says Brown,  “So we have a heck of a lot of work to do to engage the community in that process.”

Brown may also have work to convince the city’s police officer and firefighter unions to engage as well. Representatives of both unions say they are not happy that Brown’s budget for next year includes more cuts in public safety.

Kevin Smith is the president of the Flint police officers union.   He welcomes the help of the state police and others.   But Smith says the city should not be laying off police officers.

“The Flint officers are the ones who are going out there,” says Smith, “Working in the community for years at a time. They know who the problems is. Or who needs assistance. They know everybody in the community as community police officers because we’ve been dealing with the folks day in day out.”

Flint Police have investigated more than a dozen homicides this year.   That is actually a slower pace than the past few years.

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