Officers cite rising crime, declining morale under Walling Administration
FLINT, Mich. (September 28, 2015) – The Flint Police Officers Association (FPOA) has endorsed Karen Weaver for Mayor of Flint. FPOA’s executive board voted unanimously to endorse Weaver.
Chief among the board’s decision making was the stark contrast between Walling’s broken relationship with the police department and Weaver’s desire to work with the department towards reducing crime and improving officer safety. Kevin Smith, president of FPOA and a 16 year veteran of the department, stated “I have seen plenty of mayoral administrations come and go. The Walling administration is dysfunctional”.
The board cited the following as examples of Walling’s failed leadership:
_ Flint has consistently been at the top of the FBI’s most violent cities list under Walling.
_ In 2011, Walling strangely blamed public safety employees for arsons that were later attributed to criminals that were not city public safety employees.
_ Walling’s $5.3 million police millage, designed to hire many more police officers to fight crime, misled the public and only resulted in a net gain of three officers several months after passage.
_ Walling refused to consider cost-cutting recommendations from FPOA and failed to negotiate in good faith – in part by appointing a personnel director with a past criminal record, resulting in mass layoffs.
_ Walling refused to change FPD leadership, despite rising crime and a vote of no confidence in Chief Lock by 85% of officers.
While all of these situations are troubling, one of the biggest concerns to officers is Walling’s belief that laying off police officers has no impact on crime. Of this, Smith says, “While Mr. Walling has made it known that he has many degrees, he doesn’t understand what is obvious to citizens – laying off police officers DOES have an impact on crime-it increases crime. You just don’t ask the citizens to approve a 5.3 million police millage to hire more police officers, and the citizens approve it, and then only hire three more officers. He duped the public. ”
Despite Walling attributing many of the city’s problems to emergency managers, Smith reminds voters that Dayne Walling supported the takeover before he was against it: “Just like flipping the switch on Flint’s hazardous water source, Walling flipped the switch on crime by laying off 57 police officers just months into his first term – despite double digit concession offers by the police officers.”
Smith continued, “FPOA is backing Karen Weaver because of her commitment to making Flint safe again, through cooperation and communication with the officers patrolling the streets. We believe Karen Weaver will be there with us preventing and fighting crime every day. Our city desperately needs a Mayor who will do this, and Weaver clearly is the best person and candidate we want with us in the trenches.”
Upon learning of the FPOA’s endorsement of her for Mayor, Weaver responded: “I highly respect, appreciate, and am thankful for the FPOA endorsement, and look forward to working daily with our police officers to prevent and attack crime in our city.”
About FPOA: The Flint Police Officers Association represents the police officers of the City of Flint.