Flint, MI — Flint City Council has nixed a resolution proposing the city use some of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase weekend police patrols in the city.

The resolution, submitted by Councilman Eric Mays, states that there are “neighborhood hotspots” in Flint that need additional weekend patrols.

Mays told Flint Beat examples of such hotspots include a plaza at Clio Road and Pierson Road and the upcoming Northwestern High School Alumni Tailgate, which Mays said will take place August 5 at the former high school.

In order to better cover those hotspots, the resolution proposed allocating “$300,000 to $400,000” in Flint’s ARPA funding toward paying current Flint police officers overtime to work on the weekends.

“When it come down to public safety and being proactive in order to try to save a life of one resident — it could be me, it could be you, it could be somebody you know — I ain’t funny about spending the money,” Mays said during a July 19 council meeting.

At the same meeting, Police Chief Terence Green said he’s “not going to turn down any funding that’s going to increase public safety.”

But when Councilman Quincy Murphy asked him where the $300,000 to $400,000 amount came from, Green said he didn’t come up with those numbers and he is still in he process of calculating what the cost would be to have more officers work overtime in the summer.

“We started trainings and based on those trainings, crime is increasing specifically in . . . June, July and August,” he said. “When I turn in the budget, we’re actually trying to predict . . . what our cost would be as far as overtime.”

Green went on to say that the police department has been doing a special overtime initiative this summer because of an increase in shootings, estimating that there is one shooting per day in the city.

He added that summer is also when more residents gather for neighborhood block parties past 2 a.m.

While Councilwomen Jerri Winfrey-Carter and Tonya Burns indicated their support of Mays’ resolution, other councilmembers were not convinced.

During discussion of the resolution, Jane Mager, Flint’s Acting Chief Financial Officer, had told Council that the Flint Police Department currently has $1 million in its budget for overtime and $1.5 million-worth of unfilled positions — figures multiple councilmembers pointed to when turning the resolution down.

“I am not in favor of this resolution because the money is there and they don’t need it,” said Councilwoman Judy Priestley.

“I’m not going to vote for it because … the chief, he has all the money that he needs, he just needs the bodies,” Council Vice President Ladel Lewis said.

Flint PD’s public information officer, Detective Tyrone Booth, told Flint Beat that the department has launched an “aggressive hiring campaign” to fill its more than 15 open positions, though Green said he is looking to hire 25 positions during Wednesday’s meeting.

Regardless, Booth noted the proposed $300,000 to $400,000 would make more money available for current employees who want to take on overtime assignments.

“We do have the capacity and we have the equipment that would allow it [employees working overtime] so we have more than enough cars to put extra people out on the street and all the other equipment needed to effectively patrol and protect the public,” he said.

Booth added that he could not share exactly how many officers work on the weekends at this time for security reasons.

In the end, Mays, Winfrey-Carter and Burns voted for the resolution to move forward to the next council meeting, while Priestley voted no and Murphy abstained, stating there was already money in the budget.

Lewis and Councilwoman Eva Worthing left the meeting prior to the vote, and Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer was not at the meeting.

Five votes were needed to send the resolution forward to council.

Sophia is Flint Beat's City Hall reporter. She joins the team after previously reporting for the Livingston Daily and the Lansing State Journal, along with some freelance work with The New York Times....