In the coming spring, five Toledo neighborhoods will get some face time with Toledo police officers.
A new community-policing effort, the Community Corridor Initiative, will distribute 10 officers to designated “historic neighborhood districts to address community and small business concerns,” said police Chief Derrick Diggs.
The chief said the officers will work in vehicles, on bicycles, and on foot.
The chosen corridors are “vital gateways to businesses and residential areas of Toledo and their success is critical to the overall well-being of the city,” Chief Diggs said.
Areas include neighborhoods around Lagrange, Cherry, Main, and Broadway streets as well as near West Sylvania Avenue.
“One of the things I always hear at all of the Block Watch meetings is that people want to see and hear and talk to police officers,” said Councilman Tom Waniewski.
Part of his district falls within a portion of the Sylvania Avenue corridor.
“The crime, fortunately, in my district isn’t as severe as in other parts of town — we don’t have the shootings and that’s great — but one small crime ... that still has an impact on that resident,” Mr. Waniewski said.
Chief Diggs said each of the selected neighborhoods has “different concerns,” but there is time to “tailor this initiative” for each area.
The new patrols are expected to hit the streets in April after a class of 75 Toledo police recruits graduates from the department's academy.
Originally, the class was set to be 65 strong, but a $1.25 million federal grant from Community Oriented Policing Services allowed the department to add 10 more recruits to the class.
The grant covers 75 percent of the cost to employ the officers for three years.
After that, the funding will have to come from the department.
The new police class kicks off the academy Tuesday.
To accommodate the large class, the biggest in 30 years, Chief Diggs said additional space has been rented at the academy, which is hosted at Owens Community College.
“We know it’s going to be a challenge, but we are up to it because we need these officers on the streets,” Chief Diggs said.
Once the 75 graduate, the department will have about 650 officers.
The hires will also allow for positions to be filled in the Investigative Services Bureau and Special Operations.
Mayor Mike Bell said the hires will come at a critical time just as the weather starts to warm and the city sees — as it does just about every year as summer approaches — an increase in crime.