Public invited to comment on Justice Grant spending

FLINT TWP. — The township board has set a public hearing for 7 p.m. July 15 to take public comment on spending the annual Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), administered by the U.S. Bureau of Justice.

The board also approved an interlocal agreement between the cities of Flint and Burton, the townships of Flint and Mt. Morris and Genesee County.

Police Chief George Sippert said this year’s JAG allocation of $230,045 will be divided among those townships and cities.

Each in turn allocates ten percent of its share as follows: five percent to Genesee County toward costs of housing and prosecuting arrests and the other five percent to Flint Township for acting as the fiduciary of local JAG grant distribution.

As a result, the adjusted amounts to be distributed this year are $9,280 to the Burton; $166,521 to Flint; $12,397 to Mt. Morris Township, $30,346 to Flint Township and $11,502 to Genesee County.

JAG allocations are derived from a formula based on violent crime statistics and population size. Sixty percent of the calculated annual allocation goes to the state and 40 percent to local units of government.

In past years, annual Genesee County JAG awards received were $226,615 in 2012, $282,555 in 2011 and $381,139 in 2010.

Sippert said a public hearing is held each year to allow public input on how the funds should be spent.

JAG grants can be used for a variety of local needs including law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

In May of this year, the board approved spending JAG funds leftover from 2011 to purchase 14 Millennium gas masks designed to be used to protect law enforcement officers from inhaling contaminants under conditions including riot control, military warfare, and defense against Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) threats.

Previously Flint Township has used JAG funds to purchase a special service utility vehicle needed to transport confiscated evidence too large to fit in regular police vehicles.

Past JAG funds also have been used to buy regular patrol cars and to upgrade the police department’s Crossmatch booking system which can scan and instantly match fingerprints on file in local, state and federal databases.

The county prosecutor’s office used JAG funds last year to buy permanent prescription drop-off boxes that have been placed throughout the county including one in the lobby of the Flint Township Police Department.

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