Genesee Co. Sheriff’s Office to stop operating Flint lockup

A potential shutdown of the city of Flint's lock-up is looming, and on Sunday, Oct. 1, the sheriff's office will no longer operate the lockup.
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 12:00 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - A potential shutdown of the city of Flint’s lock-up is looming, and on Sunday, Oct. 1, the sheriff’s office will no longer operate the lockup.

This decision came after the city and county struggled to reach an agreement on a new contract

“We’re ready. We sent a contract over and we’re waiting back to see if negotiations will continue or if it will cease,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.

Negotiations are landlocked as the deadline approaches.

Neeley said the city sent a contract Sept. 20 to Genesee County to operate the lockup at the current location inside the Flint Police Department, but county officials said it’s not enough money.

“Since our budget was cut by over $2 million, physically, the sheriff’s office is not able to perform that service off site,” said Captain David Kennamer with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

Now, the sheriff’s department would like to bring those services over to the county jail, which they said was the plan before the budget cut happened.

“We have to operate on that budget, and it’s not feasible at the city lockup,” Kennamer said.

Neeley said moving services would essentially have the city of Flint paying for a jail service twice, and he’s concerned with overcrowding at the county jail.

“If this lockup facility closes, it’s going to lean towards overcrowding more inside of the Genesee County lockup facility. So, we’ll be going backwards instead of forward,” Neeley said.

Overcrowding with the shutdown of the Flint lockup would cause the sheriff’s office to pick and choose who should stay behind bars and who should be let out.

“The sheriff’s office is going to maintain its commitment to public safety, and we’re going to press forward and make sure that everyone that we can commit to and meets our lodging criteria is taken care of,” Kennamer said.

The city and the sheriff’s office are still optimistic a deal can be reached.

“We have $2 million to work with, and that’s $2 million to the good, and we have signed a contract expressing our willingness to be able to put that in operation for the service of running the city of Flint lockup facility,” Neeley said.

The city of Flint said in a statement:

We are disappointed by the decision of the sheriff’s office to close the Flint City Lockup this past weekend, but we are willing to move beyond this impasse and we are optimistic that negotiations can continue.

We delivered a contract to the sheriff’s office on Sept.r 20 to continue the operation of the Flint City Lockup at the city’s facility, consistent with operations for the past decade. The sheriff’s office proposed to close the Flint City Lockup and move it inside the Genesee County Jail, which would ultimately work against our shared goal of reducing overcrowding.

We remain willing to negotiate a reduction of the city lockup’s operation to peak hours, given cuts to state funding. We are committed to effectively addressing crime in the City of Flint and we will use all means at our disposal to do so.

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