FLINT, Michigan — “I want the community to know that the Michigan State Police has a vested interest in this community,” said First Lieutenant Yvonne Brantley of the Michigan State Police.
As an African American woman born and raised in Detroit, Lt. Brantley understands the challenges that exist between community and law enforcement. She also knows the level of impact that positive interactions have on community members.
“I did not like the police when I was a kid. However, a trooper responded to a car fire my family was involved in when I was 11. He calmed us all down, loaded us all in his patrol car, and drove us home,” said Lt. Brantley. The trooper’s kindness and ability to deescalate the situation inspired her to pursue law enforcement with the Michigan State Police.
Since becoming First Lieutenant, Brantley has taken these experiences with her and used them to ensure the communities she serves are met with respect and dignity. This is her constant motivation to continue working with her Michigan State Police Flint Post to brainstorm initiatives and community outreach events.
“My staff and I are highly committed to bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community we serve. We consider the citizens of our post area as partners. We all know we cannot do our job without the community.”
The relationship between law enforcement and the community has extended itself into assisting the Sarvis Park neighborhood on various fronts. The partnership began in 2020 when the Sarvis Park Neighborhood Association founder, Dr. Ladel Lewis, partnered with the Michigan State Police for a ‘Community Day.’
Recently, Lt. Brantley was a part of Sarvis Park’s Community Clean Up Day
, having adopted the park as a part of their Building Up the Block initiative. The partnership has created long-lasting relationships in the neighborhood, with residents recognizing her as a key figure
The following programs piloted by Lt. Brantley and the Michigan State Police Flint Post have helped cultivate strong community relationships by offering the following fun and free programs open to the public.
"We consider the citizens of our post area as partners. We all know we cannot do our job without the community.” - 1st Lt. Yvonne BrantleyBuilding Up the Block
Building Up the Block is a community policing initiative created and implemented in 2021 by Michigan State Police Flint Post. According to Lt. Brantley, this initiative is based on the broken-windows theory, which believes that problems that go unattended in a community create an attitude toward that community, leading to more problems.
With the theory as its foundation, Flint Post troopers gathered to brainstorm a way to create an innovative outreach program that would build positive community relationships and ultimately reduce violent crime in the area.
“Members of the Flint Post identify parks that need “love” throughout the summer months. Once those areas are identified, members from the state police clean up and beautify the area during a four-hour block,” said the 1st Lt.
Within this beautification period, troopers connect with community members while helping clean up parks alongside residents.
“If the area is taken care of prior to the end of the four hours, we move out into the neighborhoods and remove trash from abandoned houses. I also go door to door and introduce myself to the residents in the neighborhood,” said Lt. Brantley.
The Flint Post program was recognized by Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper in February. Michigan State Police Flint Post received the Community Policing Outstanding Achievement Award, an honor recognizing innovative initiatives from law enforcement to promote teamwork while helping solve a challenge in the community.
Youth Basic Swim Safety Program
Flint Post troopers gathered to brainstorm a way to build positive community relationships and ultimately reduce violent crime in the area.The Youth Basic Swim Safety Program
is a Michigan State Police Flint Post initiative partnered with the YMCA and ELGA Credit Union to provide community members free swimming lessons and safety training. Troops can further engage with the communities through this initiative while promoting public safety.
“By offering free swim lessons regarding water safety, we are helping to provide valuable lessons and potentially life-saving skills to individuals who may normally encounter barriers to this sort of opportunity,” explains Lt. Brantley.
Flint Post troopers who are lifeguard-certified and water safety certified will be giving swim lessons focused on breath control, safe entry and exit of the water, floating, swimming strokes, and other basic swimming skills.
According to Sgt. Rick Jones of the Michigan State Police Flint Post, “[The Youth Basic Swim Safety Program] is an awesome way for us to interact with and help keep children in the city of Flint safe. This is our first time offering this swim program, and we are lucky to have wonderful partners like the YMCA and ELGA Credit Union. In everything we do, our priority is always keeping the communities we serve safe.”
For more information regarding Michigan State Police Flint Post community initiatives and events service troopers, you can reach Tpr. Katelyn Hammond
and Tpr. Steve Kramer
“We are here for you and want to work with you!” says Lt. Brantley.
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