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Published: Saturday, 4/19/2008

Officers urged to prevent trouble as students leave schools


When students are dismissed from Toledo Public Schools at the end of the day, hundreds of them flood into nearby neighborhoods on their way home.

But some of them stick around the school, and that's when problems occur, police said.

In an effort to prevent fights or large disturbances outside the schools, Capt. Diana Ruiz-Krause, commander of the Scott Park district police station, has encouraged community service officers to head to Robinson Middle School, 1075 Horace St., and Jones at Gunckel Park Middle School, 430 Nebraska Ave., during dismissal.

The captain even headed to the schools earlier this week to help.

"Kids like to hang out around schools, and sometimes when they hang out too long or if there is a problem during school hours, it may then go on outside of the school after school hours," she said.

Captain Ruiz-Krause said problems in the schools seem to pick up during warmer weather.

The students become anxious as the school year winds down and seem to be a bit more antsy this time of year, she said.

The captain hopes an increased police presence will make dismissals move along more smoothly.

"We're there to be preventative," she said.

There are school resource officers assigned to both Robinson and Jones middle schools, but Captain Ruiz-Krause said they sometimes need assistance.

"When the weather gets warm, it does get a bit overwhelming for that [school resource] officer to handle all the activities going on in that school," Captain Ruiz-Krause said.

Community Service Officer Michelle Price said the students become a "little more playful and active" during the end of the school year.

"They like to gather in groups and chat and they can get a little ornery at times," she said. "They're being kids."

Officer Price said she patrols around the schools and in surrounding neighborhoods and agrees that the presence helps discourage students from fighting or causing other problems.

"We are trying to be more proactive," she said. "If they do see us, they are not going to engage in that type of activity."

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