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Published: Friday, 3/1/2013

Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs retiring this month, will be rehired by Bell

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Chief Derrick Diggs will retire on March 21 and be rehired the next day in the same role by Toledo Mayor Mike Bell. Chief Derrick Diggs will retire on March 21 and be rehired the next day in the same role by Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.
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Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs plans to retire later this month and be rehired the next day by Mayor Mike Bell.

Chief Diggs, 57, said he is leaving the job March 21 because he has reached the maximum number of years that police officers and firefighters are allowed to remain in Ohio's Deferred Retirement Option Plan, DROP.

“There is still work to be done,” Chief Diggs said. “I am only leaving the position as police chief because I am required to do so.... I am willing to put off retirement to continue in that role and serve the citizens of Toledo if the mayor chooses that to be done.”

Mayor Mike Bell will be sending Toledo councilmen a letter today regarding the chief's pending retirement and his planned rehiring.

“This is an election year and I am reticent to make a permanent appointment of a new candidate when it is possible that there may be a different mayor next year,” Mayor Bell wrote.

The mayor asked council to reappoint Chief Diggs to the top cop job, but noted that he would name him acting chief if needed.

DROP is an optional benefit that is meant to be "cost-neutral for the pension fund."

A calculator on the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund's Web site estimates Chief Diggs could receive a pension of about $71,000 based on his nearly 36 years of service and his $102,132 annual salary.

DROP permits public safety officers to build retirement savings in exchange for reduced lifetime pensions.

To be eligible for DROP, officers or firefighters must be at least 48 years old with no less than 25 years of service. That decision freezes future pensions as long as they remain in the DROP program. Then for at least three years and up to eight years, the monthly pension they otherwise would draw accumulates in a separate account, along with interest and a portion of their 10 percent of salary contributions.

Former Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre retired in 2011 after maxing out the number of years in Drop. Former Toledo Fire Chief Mike Wolever retired also in 2011 after 33 years of service. He was also maxed out in DROP, said Jen Sorgenfrei, Mayor Bell's spokesman.

A review of city of Toledo executive exempt employees, which includes directors, commissioners, managers, and attorneys, shows seven Bell administration officials who have retired and are working for the city. They are Mayor Bell, Deputy Mayor Shirley Green, Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat, Director of Affirmative Action & Contract Compliance Perlean Griffin, Acting Commissioner of Public Utilities David Leffler, Commissioner of Public Utilities Don Moline, and Senior Attorney John Madigan.

Chief Diggs' data-driven policing project, called ORION, which stands for Observation Research Intelligence Operations Network, has been at the top of his efforts to reduce crime.

Under his watch since taking over the department on Oct. 21, 2011, a new camera system known as “eye in the sky" has been installed along city streets.

The chief said data-driven policing helps to deter crime, improves officers’ response, and helps investigators solve crimes. He stressed that burglaries in Toledo declined by 22 percent from 2011, and homicide detectives solved 83 percent of the crimes they investigated, compared to the national average of 52 percent.

“This is a new way of policing and this cannot be measured in a year or two,” Chief Diggs said. “This will take five years to measure the accuracy of the data to see how successful we can be with this program.”

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171, or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.



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