Flint, MI–After two weeks on the job, Flint’s new Police Chief Terence Green said his top priorities are hiring more officers, evaluating department morale, and building trust between cops and the community.
Green said he’s spent most of his time at the department so far familiarizing himself with operations and getting to know the personnel.
“I’ve basically been having conversations with current employees trying to gauge [morale],” Green said. “The next part of the process is to start visiting roll calls and speaking with officers one-on-one to get an idea of what the morale is.”
While he tries to determine the feelings of officers in the department, Green says he also has to work to improve the community’s feelings towards the police department.
He said there’s been a trend of people not calling 911 after a shooting or crime takes place.
“We have to bridge that gap between the police department and the community,” Green said. “Due to the fact that they do not trust us, we will not receive those calls and those tips. Building community trust is vital to our operations.”
Green said building trust will require transparency and community engagement.
“Number one, it starts with me getting out here in the community and being a face in the community,” he said. “From there, the rank and file of officers follow suit…and gradually over months and weeks, it starts to take effect in the community.”
His top priority right now is hiring more officers.
“We are aggressively trying to recruit and fill those positions,” Green said. “That will give us more officers and increase visibility and then we can start moving, placing people and using our talents as far as beefing up the detective bureau, narcotics, and things like that.”
Green has a history of shutting down drug houses and was a part of three different narcotics teams over the years: the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Flint Area Narcotics Group and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department narcotics enforcement team.
He said dealing with narcotics will continue to be one of his priorities moving forward in Flint.
“Flint not only has a violent crime issue, but also an epidemic as far as the opioid epidemic,” he said. “Trying to eliminate the narcotics issue is always going to be on my agenda. I’ve been doing that since 2000.”
As for the crime plan announced by Mayor Sheldon Neeley and Former Police Chief Phil Hart in July, Green said he is still evaluating it.
“I’m definitely gonna keep things that I feel work best for the community and department,” Green said. “I’m evaluating what I think will be effective, those that are will remain, those that aren’t will change.”
He said he is in support of the gun buyback program and is working to establish a date and secure funding to get the program started. He also said the Special Investigative Unit has been a successful program so far.