Resident participation sought in Flint Community Advisory Task Force on Public Safety Meetings

The newly formed Flint Community Advisory Task Force on Public Safety is asking residents to voice their ideas and concerns as part of its ongoing work to provide a bridge between community members and police, according to a press release from the City. 

Flint Police Officers gathered for a press conference at City Hall in September 2020. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Mayor Sheldon Neeley suggested the creation of the task force in response to pressure from Black Lives Matter demonstrations in and around Flint in 2020. 

Residents are invited to attend the monthly public meetings via Zoom every third Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The next meeting is 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21. Meetings also are being broadcast live on the task force’s Facebook page

Neeley asked Jeffery Hawkins, pastor of Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church and a key organizer in the Flint demonstrations, to lead the community effort. 

“We’re proud of the momentum and work of the Task Force to create a platform that continues to build relationships between the community and public safety,” Hawkins said. “We are encouraged by the committed volunteers and the support from the Flint community.”

Flint Police vehicle parked in front of City Hall on Saginaw Street downtown Flint. (Photo by Tom Travis)

The task force includes 12 members co-chaired by Hawkins and Debra Furr-Holden, a Michigan State University dean and epidemiologist.   Local police departments and wellness, social work, aging, and advocacy organizations also are represented.  

“The purpose of this Task Force is to foster a just and equitable community through the collaboration of our community and public safety,” said Furr-Holden. “We will work in partnership with the City of Flint and local public safety to elevate the community voices and concerns so that we can work together to create a safe community.”

According to the City press release, “The task force wants to help elevate the voices of the Flint community while creating a platform to raise issues that allows for ideas and solutions to flourish. It is not intended to be the first stop for a resolution to issues, but it is an outlet for those who feel they’ve exhausted other means to be heard.”

“Working together is our best tool in both fighting injustice and fighting crime,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “We welcome this community task force’s strong, independent voice as part of our work to continue moving this community forward in a positive direction.”

Evening in downtown Flint. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Members of the committee include:

  • Co-chair: Jeffery Hawkins, pastor of Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church and member of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards
  • Co-chair: Dr. Debra Furr-Holden, an epidemiologist and associate dean of public health integration at MSU, co-director of the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center, and co-founder of African American Council in Baltimore City Police Department|
  • Ralph Arellano, former member of Flint City Council, former member of the Civil Service Commission, director of the Hispanic Technology and Community Center, and a social justice leader in Flint for 50 years
  • William Balcer, III, a Flint native, attorney with legal expertise in criminal defense, civil rights, and employment/labor law
  • Mario DeSean Booker, a Flint native, minister, volunteer, and activist
  • Abel Delgado, a Latinx Flint resident, community activist and organizer
  • Brandon Ray Jamison, a radio host on Club 93.7 FM and event promoter
  • Sherri Miller, a social worker and juvenile justice specialist
  • Adrienne Niles, a former after-school site coordinator, Title I parent specialist, and participant in Undoing Racism workshop by the People’s Institute
  • Linda Samarah, an artist, community activist, and communications manager for ACCESS, the nation’s largest Arab-American community nonprofit
  • Holly Underwood, a neighborhood block club activist, and senior center board member
  • Estephanie Ward, a graduate of UM-Flint and Mott Community College.

Ex-officio members: 

  • ALPACT – Ron Wiles
  • City of Flint Police – Chief Terence Green
  • Genesee Health System – Dan Russell
  • Kettering University Police  – Paul Crane
  • MDHHS, Flint Union St. Office – Michael Milks
  • Michigan State Police, Flint Post #35 – Yvonne Brantley
  • Mott Community College Police – Michael Odette
  • Office of the Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney – David Leyton, John Potbury, & Tammy Phillips
  • Project ReCAST – Afton Shavers
  • University of Michigan-Flint Police – Raymond Hall
  • Valley Area Agency on Aging – Yaushica Aubert
  • Wellness Services, Inc. – Stevi Atkins

Residents can email the task force at A website also is being developed.

EVM Staff can be reached at

Author: Tom Travis

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