“Concerned Pastors and Michigan State Patrol Pursue Partnership”
By Pastor Alfred L. Harris, Sr.
Love them or hate them the presence of the Michigan State Police in the city of Flint
is a reality. Governor Snyder opted to increase the MSP presence as opposed to
finding funding to provide ample Flint officers. The presence of the MSP has been
both a positive and negative experience for many. Positive in the sense that people with warrants have been arrested and numerous illegal weapons confiscated. Negative in the sense that many feel they are victims of racial profiling and unfair harassment. While the CPSA supports the mission of all law enforcement agencies, we also demand the safety and dignity of residents not be compromised at any cost.
On Thursday, July 17, 2014 a candid discussion was held between members of the Concerned Pastors for Social Action (CPSA) and representatives of the Michigan State Police (MSP) at the Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church. The tragic deaths of innocent citizens resulting from high-speed chases, and negative interactions of troopers with city residents in general dominated the conversation. Third District Commander, Capt. Gene Kapp and Flint Post Commander, Lt. Tom Deasy welcomed the dialog. As president of the CPSA, I pray the discussion will continue and lead to a “partnership” that will positively affect our city. Both entities pledge to do our part to accomplish what we believe is an obtainable goal.
The MSP expressed their deep sympathy for the loss of life caused by the chases but made it clear they will continue to do their jobs. To which the CPSA expressed a need for their procedures to be reevaluated and upgraded with the best interest of our residents at heart given the tragic results. Also, the CPSA sought assurances that when accidents or incidents occur investigations will be handled with integrity, compassion and visibility. Anyone who feels they have been mistreated is encouraged by the MSP and CPSA to file a formal complaint that will be investigated in the most forthright way.
Our discussions are a starting point of what all participants agree needs to be a joint collaboration geared to giving credit where credit is due, identify problems and finding solutions. Ultimately, an inability to work together spells failure for everyone! The Flint Police Department, Emergency Financial Manager Darnell Early and Mayor Dayne Walling also participated in the discussion, share our vision and are in full support of this initiative.
I urge every citizen to look to the future with optimism and not pessimism. This
can be difficult given our city’s deplorable economic state, high unemployment rate, out of control criminal activity, skyrocketing water bills, and struggling Public School System. Even so, we must proceed believing our efforts will not be in vain, and all involved parties will use their creativity and resources for the greater good of our entire city. We must hold one another accountable!