Cease Fire Coming to Flint
March 22, 2011 | WJRT ABC News Channel 12 | Link to source story
FLINT (WJRT) -- (03/21/11)--At least four deadly shootings are under investigation in the city of Flint.
All of the incidents happened in less than 48 hours.
Monday night, some in the community were awaiting a new program they believe will help get the city get a handle on crime.
The mayor gave an update on the Cease Fire program and said the city will roll it out soon. And for one man who is part of the effort, he says it can't come soon enough.
"My 26-year-old son was murdered," said Pastor Jeffrey Hawkins Prince of Peace Baptist Church. "Then in 2007 of August, I had another son who was murdered."
Hawkins says he understands the grief that four families are feeling after a violent two days in Flint -- three deadly shootings on Sunday, and one Monday afternoon.
"Here it is March, and we're already at 12 homicides," Hawkins said.
Determined to make a difference, Hawkins is working with Flint's Cease Fire program. With the help of law enforcement, government agencies and even colleges and universities, the program is a proactive approach to reducing crime.
"There's a lot of players involved," Hawkins said.
The city-wide program targets non-violent offenders who are no stranger to the law. Law enforcement brings them in and offers life-changing opportunities before they end up behind bars.
"If they need some assistance with DHS, if they need housing, we've got all the key players," Hawkins said.
A similar program is in place in High Point, North Carolina. The police chief told the Flint community last year it has produced remarkable results.
"We've gone from averaging in the teens for homicides and I hesitate and knock on wood, as of this moment, there has not been a homicide in High Point this year," said High Point, N.C. Police Chief Jim Fealy.
And Hawkins wants the same for Flint because he doesn't want another family to feel his pain of losing a loved one -- the same pain he's felt not once, but twice.
"Every time I see another murder it grieves me so because that's somebody's child," he said.
The Cease Fire initiative should be in place sometime this spring, definitely before the summer.