Just days after Police Chief Mike Navarre announced the creation of a task force to address a rash of shootings in Toledo, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have launched a second initiative with a similar aim.
On Wednesday, the new multi-agency team hit the streets, arresting 19 individuals and seizing two guns, according to Toledo Police.
At 3 p.m. Thursday, officials are gathering at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Toledo to announce details of the Violence Gun Reduction and Interdiction program, known as V-GRIP. The program, which has been implemented successfully in the Youngstown-Warren area, involves increasing patrols in trouble spots, targeting enforcement through the cooperation of federal, state, and local agencies, and increasing federal prosecution for gun offenses, which generally carries tougher prison sentences.
V-GRIP was first used in Youngstown, Ohio in 2003 and was reinstituted in Mahoning and Trumbull counties last summer. Federal officials credited V-GRIP with the seizure of 154 illegal firearms, 21 federal indictments, and 21 convictions with an average prison sentence of just less than four years.
Toledo Police Deputy Chief Derrick Diggs said Thursday that the department had been planning to bring V-GRIP to town. With some 27 shootings in the city in June — one of which was fatal — the need for the program became more urgent.
“We’ve been planning this for at least a couple months,” he said.
On Monday, Chief Navarre announced the creation of a task force aimed at getting guns off the streets. As part of that initiative, police will pay overtime for more patrols in key crime areas late at night and early in the morning and offer a $2,500 reward for information in recent shootings and a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of individuals in possession of illegal firearms.
“Is there some overlap? Is there some coordination? There probably will have to be, but it’s really two different initiatives trying to address the problems we have with gangs and guns in the summer,” Deputy Chief Diggs said.