Flint's new police chief says city has seen 'lawlessness' since COVID-19 pandemic began
The City of Flint has a new police chief. Terence Green comes to the department after several years as chief in the Flint suburb of Mount Morris Township.
Green is a Flint resident and also worked for the Genessee County Sheriff's Department for more than 20 years.
Green talked to Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about his priorities for city’s police department.
He's taking over during an especially violent summer. According to city data, through August 23, violent crime is up more than 24% over last year. Green says his main focus will be reducing violent crime in the city.
“On a daily basis, there's reports of shots fired, individuals being shot,” Green says. “And it appears as though there's lawlessness since the beginning of this COVID-19 epidemic.”
Green is African-American and says he can relate to Black Lives Matter protests nationwide.
"Communities of color, I understand why they feel the way they feel,” he says. “You look across the United States, some of the things that have occurred in other cities involving police departments, I've been even shocked.”
Green says he will be glad to meet with local activists to discuss their concerns. However, he opposes any calls to defund the department, saying it's already understaffed.
Flint currently has 95 full-time officers and is trying to hire at least 14 more. The city has more than 95,000 residents.
Green replaces Phil Hart, who served as interim chief for nine months after Tim Johnson resigned in November.
You can hear the full interview at the top of the page.