Bridging the gap: Police host community event in Flint

The event is intended to bring local police together with the community to help build bridges and strengthen the bond between officers and the people they serve.
Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 6:43 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan State Police hosted a ‘Community Day’ at Flint’s Sarvis Park Friday with the help of the local neighborhood association.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Flint Police also showed up.

For nearly three hours, the officers ate burgers, played games and spoke one-on-one with parents and kids who live in the northside neighborhood.

Organizer, Lt. Jeff Short, with the Michigan State Police, said the goal was to “grill and chill.”

He knows how vital the relationship is between police and community. This event is one of many ways he said they’re working to strengthen it.

Lt. Short explained the police just want to get to know the the people they serve and work to keep safe.

He reached out to the Sarvis Park Community Group Association and they decided on hosting this barbecue.

Lt. Short said he’s hopeful the community understands they can rely on them, call on them when they’re in need and trust they’ll be there.

It was an effort, too, to break down the no-snitch mentality when a crime happens in their neighborhood.

A new initiative launched in July has more officers out on patrol in the Flint community working to get illegal guns off the street.

Lt. Short said the initiative was a direct response to the high volume of shootings the City experienced earlier this summer.

He said working together, MSP and Flint Police seized 164 illegal guns in August and arrested 270 people. That led to 342 felony charges.

Lt. Short said the number of shootings has decreased as a result.

“So that has definitely had an impact on the violence that we’re seeing here in Flint," he said. “You know, the community members, they deserve to feel, to feel good about being out and be safe right? To be out at a park playing and know that they’re safe, so we’re trying to deliver that to them.”

The event ran from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Organizers said the community can expect more events like this one in the future.

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