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Published: Thursday, 4/17/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Toledo police captain retires after 37 years, going to Genoa

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Weis Weis
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If there’s one thing that Capt. Brad Weis has learned in 37 years on the Toledo Police Department, it’s “never say never.”

Anything can happen anywhere, at any time. And, eventually, it does.

When the captain retires from the department next month and is hired by Genoa to be its next police chief, he’s hoping that some of the mayhem that comes with being a Toledo police officer stays in Toledo and that he will have time to connect with village residents.

“I’ll get to know people more and get to know the town people more,” said the captain, who is in his late 50s. “You don’t have that opportunity in Toledo to get to be that close with the citizens.”

Captain Weis’ appointment to chief was made official Monday at a special village council meeting, Genoa Mayor Mark Williams said.

The Genoa job opened up when former Chief Bill Bratton resigned in January before pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds that stemmed from his time as Ottawa County sheriff.

Mayor Williams said the village received 10 applications for the vacancy, and two candidates were interviewed.

The captain, a resident of Oak Harbor, Ohio, was selected because of his “small-town” background and his experience in Toledo, the mayor said.

In Genoa, Captain Weis will oversee a staff of three full-time officers and two part-time officers, a vast difference from the 300 officers he was tasked with supervising last year. His salary will be $62,000.

Captain Weis, an Elmore native, joined the Toledo Police Department at 22. He had worked for three months as a Rossford officer when he got the call from the big city. It was a no-brainer: The TPD was his dream job.

He worked for more than a decade as a patrolman and sergeant in the Detroit Avenue and Dorr Street area — one of the city’s busiest for police.

He’s had “brushes with death.”

In 1980, Officers Weis and Bob Maxwell had a “verbal disagreement” with a couple of men. The officers went on their way, and in the 1800 block of Palmwood Avenue stopped an erratic driver. The men from the disagreement followed, parked between two houses, and fired six shots from a shotgun at the patrol car, striking the officers in the faces and necks.

A picture of the shot-up patrol car hangs on the wall of Captain Weis’ fourth-floor office.

Recently, the pressures became overwhelming.

“The Baby Elaina case took a heavy toll on me,” the captain said. “Just being involved and knowing what’s going on and meeting with the media, doing Nancy Grace ... it was just knowing the facts that you now know that we knew then. ... I just couldn’t believe that people are that way.”

Elaina Steinfurth was 18 months old when she went missing from an East Toledo home on June 2. After exhaustive searches of garbage cans, fields, and the Maumee River, the toddler’s remains were found in a box inside the detached garage of the home where she was last seen alive.

The girl’s mother, Angela Steinfurth, and the mother’s estranged boyfriend, Steven King II, are serving life sentences for murder and other charges.

The captain will retire just as the department gains 68 new officers who graduate today from the Toledo Police Academy.

To the rookies on the streets, the captain offers: “In 37 years, I’m still learning, and they should have an open mind and continue to follow senior officers and pick up the things they need to know and not to try to be a know-it-all because, after 37 years on here, I don’t know it all. It’s continually a learning process.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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