Flint mayor fires police chief, fire chief as part of 'restructuring'

City needs 'fresh faces' with 'new ideas,' mayor's office says

James Tolbert, David Cox Jr.
James Tolbert, David Cox Jr.

FLINT, Mich. – The Flint police chief and fire chief have been fired as part of restructuring that is underway in city operations, the mayor's office said Friday.

In a statement, the mayor's office said the city needs "fresh faces in place with new ideas."

While a search for replacements is being conducted, the departments will be headed by police Capt. Colin Bernie and District Commander Stephen Cobb.

“We have full confidence in the ability of Capt. Bernie and Commander Cobb to meet the needs of the City of Flint as we conduct a search for the best qualified individuals to provide these vital services to the residents and businesses of Flint,” Weaver said. “We expect to have announcements soon filling both positions with highly qualified individuals who will help us as we work to restore faith and hope in our city government."

Former Chief James Tolbert released the following statement:

"I would like to thank the members of the Flint Police Department and the Citizens of the City of Flint for their support during my tenure as Chief of Police for the Flint Police Department.  For those members of the administration and city council who had confidence in me and allowed me to lead this great department I thank you.  In the 2+ years I have been here, I have had the pleasure of meeting and engaging so many of you with the focus of addressing crime and improving police and community relationships.  I cannot forget the ecumenical, and service community as well as the other law enforcement agencies from the area, without you we would be in an unsurmountable situation.  Great progress has been made and I can only hope my successor will continue down the path we have begun.   There is much to be done and the foundation has been laid, this is not a time to rest on past laurels, moving forward will require innovation and implementation of strategies that will require sustainability.  We have started 2016 with great promise and it is my belief it will continue and result in a banner year of lower crime.  I will continue to watch you and pray for you Flint."

Tolbert served as deputy chief with the Detroit Police Department until leaving in 2013 to become chief of police with the Flint Police Department. 

Moreover, Weaver announced later Friday that city administrator Natasha Henderson also has been relived from her duties.


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