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Councilman Collins asks Toledo police to rethink '12 budget

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Toledo City Councilman D. Michael Collins aid the department cannot operate at such low staffing levels.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Toledo Police Department officials have been asked to reconsider their proposed 2012 budget, after Councilman D. Michael Collins said the department cannot operate at such low staffing levels.

The department’s proposed budget of about $73 million does not include filling 23 civilian vacancies in records and communications, police Chief Derrick Diggs said during a budget presentation on Monday afternoon.

Mr. Collins, head of the Public Safety, Law, and Criminal Justice Committee, said he “fears we will have a tragedy in this department” if staffing does not improve.

The police department currently has 545 sworn officers with another 40 recruits in the academy, expected to graduate in May.

“I don’t know how you can effectively operate a department with these numbers,” Mr. Collins said.

Chief Diggs responded by saying the department will continue to exercise “flexibility” and said “we have to do the best we can.”

The Toledo Fire Department proposed a budget just under $60 million in a hearing Monday afternoon, a drop of almost $4 million from 2011’s budgeted funds.

The fire department has 502 uniformed firefighters, Chief Luis Santiago said. He also said the department has “taken strides” to help with overtime costs.

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