Toledo police welcomed 25 of its newest officers to the ranks Friday, as the chief advised they act with humbleness and sincerity in their new profession.
The department hosted its 63rd academy graduation before several hundred family and friends in a packed Bowsher High School auditorium.
Toledo Police Chief George Kral salutes his son George R. Kral III after handing him his badge during the 63rd Toledo Police Academy graduation ceremony at Bowsher High School.
In his remarks, Chief George Kral congratulated the officers on enduring six months of training and challenges presented during the academy.
PHOTO GALLERY: 63rd Toledo Police Academy graduation
Police are expected to make the right decisions every time, and law enforcement officers are a visible representation of government, Chief Kral said. These new officers are now community leaders, he said.
“Honestly, policing doesn’t even remotely resemble what it did just 20 years ago. Thankfully, the errors of the past have turned into the wisdom of today,” Chief Kral said.
Last year, Toledo police responded to about 215,000 calls for service to 911. Each is an opportunity for positive interaction, Chief Kral said.
“You can change the storyline of TPD’s relationship with the public at every encounter. You will actually be writing the narrative of TPD,” he said.
The officers will next be on probation for a year. That includes four months of field training with a veteran officer.
This class consists of 16 white men, four black men, and one biracial man, white woman, black woman, Hispanic woman, and Asian woman. Among the graduates are the chief’s son, George R. Kral III, and former Blade reporter Taylor Dungjen.
With these newly graduated, there are 602 sworn Toledo police officers, spokesman Lt. Joe Heffernan said.
Chief Kral would like to again see 700 officers at the department, Lieutenant Heffernan said.
A few years ago, the number fell as low as 539, he said.
In 2016, the police academy class that was set to begin in February was delayed by the mayor for budgetary reasons.
Additional officers allow the department to better perform services such as investigations and community policing. With a recent increase in homicides, these new officers allow more experienced police to assist with big cases, the chief said.
The next police academy class is expected to begin Aug. 4 with 40 officers in training.
Bob Whitman, 77, traveled from Marysville, Ohio to show support at the ceremony for his grandson, Officer Scott Histed. The new officer accompanied Toledo police on ride-alongs as a teenager, and always wanted to join the department, he said.
“It’s nice to see when young people achieve academically as well as physically in a program that’s highly respected,” Mr. Whitman said.
Dena Jamison of Toledo said she was both excited and praying for the protection of her son-in-law, Officer Ramon Hamilton. This job is something he has dreamed about since he was young, she said.
“When I walked in there and he was in his uniform, I was so ecstatic,” said Ms. Jamison, 59.
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