Flint, Michigan — The latest federal report on emergency response in the Flint, Mich., city of over 100,000 residents found a serious problem of emergency response that has persisted for nearly three years, and the response team is woefully understaffed.
The report, released Thursday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, found the number of emergency personnel has risen from 930 in January 2018 to 933 by July 2019.
In September 2020, the report said, more than 4,000 people had been sent to Flint to respond to the crisis.
But the number has steadily declined, and now, the agency said, “there are just over 5,000 emergency responders.”
This is a huge problem, said John Mearsheimer, a professor at Harvard University who co-authored the report.
“There are a lot of people that don’t understand what we’re talking about, who are not equipped to respond effectively,” he told The Associated Press.
“You need a whole lot of expertise and expertise is very scarce right now.”
The report also found that emergency personnel “are woefully overtrained,” with only a handful of experienced emergency response officers and support staff available to help out.
The city has a population of just under 50,000, but nearly 40 percent of its emergency personnel are white.
The agency also found, despite assurances from city officials that they have a trained, trained and equipped response team, that they haven’t been able to meet that standard.
“This is a major issue that has plagued the response in Flint for years,” Mearsheim said.
“Flint is a case study of what happens when you don’t have an adequate response team.
You can’t simply send an experienced emergency operator to an isolated location to respond, because it’s just not possible.”
The city’s emergency response has been hampered by a lack of staffing, according to the report, which said the department has a backlog of more than 1,200 active calls and an additional 1,300 active calls for service.
In addition, it said, the department does not have adequate staff to respond in real-time to the emergency.
The department’s response is “significantly understaffing,” with the average time it takes for an officer to arrive at a scene, to respond and assess the situation, and to deploy a person or team to a site, the GAO said.
In some cases, the response has fallen short, with a large number of times when a response team did arrive to a scene but did not respond.
In October, the city of Flint said it had lost more than 2,000 officers, as of mid-October.
Flint is one of four cities in the United States where emergency personnel do not have a uniformed response team that is equipped to handle the influx of calls.
The other four cities are St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Baltimore.
The GAO report also said that some of the city’s city employees have been training to be police officers, but the department says the city has not hired police officers to replace those who have left.
The problem of not having a trained response team has been an issue in the U.S. since at least 2003, when a police officer was killed while on duty in New Orleans, according the report by the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank.
It was the deadliest police shooting in the nation, and led to the deaths of two African Americans and a white man, and prompted the formation of a civil rights group to investigate the case.
In 2015, the U