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Published: Tuesday, 3/30/2004

Police dispatcher yearned to join officers on duty

Ronald D. Navarro II, a Toledo police dispatcher who had hopes of becoming a police officer, died Sunday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center of injuries he suffered in a traffic accident early that morning. He was 30.

Mr. Navarro, who had worked in the dispatching center for eight years, made a quick transition from call-taker to dispatcher and had a keen grasp for the job, Police Chief Michael Navarre said yesterday.

"He just did a fabulous job. He was well respected by his peers, and always was very alert to what was going on," said Chief Navarre, whose administrative assistant is Lt. Ronald Navarro, Mr. Navarro's father.

The elder Mr. Navarro said his son had been on a diet and exercise regimen in preparation for taking a physical ability test required to enter police training. Even on the coldest days of winter, the father said, "He was out walking a couple of miles per day."

Born in Toledo, Mr. Navarro graduated from Maumee High School in 1991, then attended the University of Toledo for several years before leaving to start a family.

Before joining the police communications department, he worked at Toledo Express Airport for BAX Global, Inc., and later Air-Ride, Inc., dispatching aircraft and trucks, respectively.

Mr. Navarro usually worked the evening shift, so Lieutenant Navarro regularly heard his son's voice on the police radio while driving home each night. The lieutenant said he often was complimented on his son's performance as a dispatcher, but declined to take credit.

"His mind was so logical, and so quick," the father said. "He had a natural talent; he did it on his own. He could have done so much for the department." On his own time, the lieutenant added, Mr. Navarro rode along with police crews to refresh his knowledge of the city's geography and learn where the problem spots were and what he could do to help officers.

Chief Navarre said he was impressed by Mr. Navarro's devotion to his family. He often brought his two daughters downtown to visit their grandfather.

In his free time, Mr. Navarro enjoyed bowling, hockey, golf, volleyball, and euchre. His father said Mr. Navarro had saved money for a family trip to Walt Disney World next month.

Mr. Navarro's survivors include his wife, the former Shirli Evanovich; father, Ronald Navarro, Sr.; mother, Diane Navarro; daughters, Diane and Michaela; sister, Julie Navarro; and brother, Joseph Navarro. He was preceded in death by a brother.

The body will be in the W.K. Sujkowski & Son Funeral Home, 3838 Airport Highway, where the family will receive visitors from 2 to 9 p.m. tomorrow. A Scripture service will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. in St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church.

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