Flint residents use Facebook to watch out for community

A group of citizens take the idea of neigbor watch to the internet and post scanner traffic to Facebook.

Twenty-fours hours a day, seven days a week, a group of Flint area citizens are posting scanner traffic to Facebook.

"It definitely takes someone with devotion. It takes someone with a heart and a willingness to help," said Flint Police Operations administrator Joe Pozzi.

Flint Police Operations was created in August 2011 and within days it took off.

The creator wants to remain anonymous.

Joe Pozzi and Kat VanSickle were one of the first administrators to sign on.

"We hope to take back the streets of Flint. That is our ultimate goal," said FPO administrator Kat VanSickle.

"It's a matter of access. The community can come on the site anytime at their convenience and see what happened the last 8 hours when they were sleeping," said Pozzi.

The site now has 20 administrators that post everything from burglaries, fires and car accidents to Facebook.

Most have a background as some type of first responder including firefighters and paramedics. Others are just regular citizens wanting to help out.

They have strict guidelines that include not posting exact addresses, witness information or anything to jeapordize police or residents.

"We hold off completely until we know there are officers on the scene and the scene is stabilized," said Pozzi.

"It help put more eyes and ears on the street." said VanSickle.

The site does not have an affiliation with Flint Police but they are taking notice.

"Anytime anyone does something about what's going on in their neighborhood I say good for them, more power to them . It's all a big plus," said Flint Police Capt. Tim Johnson.

Capt. Johnson says while scanner traffic may not always be accurate, getting information out helps.

"The more information that is out there and the better stream of information that flows, the better for the community, the better for police and the worse it is for criminals," said Capt. Johnson.

"People are watching. They are watching out there windows. They are watching what's going on around the block. They know when someone doesn't belong there," said VanSickle.

The site now has more than 20,000 followers and it continues to grow.

Administrators are now branching off and starting other similar pages such as Flint Fire Calls and Genesee County EMS.

"I do believe it strikes a chord. I do believe the citizens of this city want to take back the streets and we're helping them do that," said VanSickle.

There is also a Flint Police Operations Twitter page and website.