When an alarming uptick in violent crime hit Toledo in early 2017, Police Chief George Kral responded with an intense community-policing initiative that flooded trouble spots in the city with large, highly visible units of officers.
The Toledo Police Department is 10 percent smaller than it was in 2006, and another 150 officers reach retirement eligibility in the next year.
Those officers arrested 427 suspects and confiscated 26 weapons as part of the Strategic Tactical Operational Policing operations this year. But more importantly, cops talked to nearly 4,000 other Toledo residents as they swept through their neighborhoods.
They talked to them; they got to know them. They let the residents in these high-crime neighborhoods meet the officers who patrol the places they live.
This was not a show of force; this was the labor-intensive real work of community policing that should pay off in the form of trust and good relationships between cops and the people they serve.
That meaningful statistic was just one that the chief discussed recently in his annual state of the TPD address. This year’s address comes just as the department begins the process to seek new certification through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
The commission will consider these statistics and others — including manpower — when it weighs certification.
With 623 officers, TPD is a little more than 10 percent smaller than it was in 2006. The department faces a serious manpower shortage as a large group of officers — 150 — reaches retirement eligibility at the same time this year.
The police academy’s current class of about 40 cadets is due to graduate early next year. When they do, they will join the 25 TPD recruits who graduated in May.
TPD will need even more men and women to join the force so that Chief Kral will have enough new, young officers to deploy on Toledo’s streets. The department needs a steady stream of diverse, talented, high-quality academy graduates to fill the ranks. Without enough officers, successful operations such as STOP are not possible and the city risks not having adequate resources to respond to violent crime.
Mayor-elect Wade Kapszukiewicz has committed to hiring 40 new officers a year, recognizing that the current size of the force is dangerously small.
To keep enough Toledo cops on the street where they can do the most good, the new mayor and Toledo City Council must honor that pledge by funding at least one police academy class a year to replenish the city’s force.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.