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Published: Thursday, 9/29/2005

Ford seeks cameras downtown for safety

Mayor Jack Ford yesterday announced a pilot program to put surveillance cameras in areas of the downtown to improve safety for workers.

The mayor, who is seeking a second four-year term in the Nov. 8 election, said one of six likely locations would be in the block of 12th Street between the offices of the law firm Shumaker Loop & Kendrick and the environmental testing business, TTL Associates.

He said people who work in the area have experienced car break-ins, and some employees have expressed concern for their safety while walking between parking spots and their offices.

Mr. Ford said he heard about Chicago's use of public cameras to deter and apprehend criminals and sent Deputy Police Chief Derrick Diggs to investigate.

Chief Diggs said Chicago has 55 cameras in airports, bus stations, major intersections, and high-crime areas.

The cameras and accessories would cost $30,000 each and would be paid for out of the city's law enforcement trust fund, made up of funds from cash and items seized during criminal investigations, or federal homeland security funds.

He said the program also probably would require a police officer or civilian to monitor the video screens.

Mr. Ford said other likely locations for the cameras would be in the Warehouse District and near businesses on Adams Street and Madison Avenue.

Toledo City Council candidate Karen Shanahan yesterday urged the Toledo Board of Education to keep Edgewater Elementary School open by adding a middle school wing.

Ms. Shanahan, a Democratic candidate for an at-large seat, said Edgewater should be considered for the same kind of change being contemplated for Beverly and Birmingham elementary schools.

Under the school district's $821 million school reconstruction program, Beverly would be relocated to the building now used by Bowsher High School and would serve grades kindergarten through eight, according to Dan Burns, chief business manager for the school district.

Birmingham or another East Toledo school is being considered for the same configuration.

Ms. Shanahan said the school issue is a legitimate City Council campaign subject because she said closing the school will result in people and businesses moving out of the city.

The Lagrange Village Council yesterday called on Carty Finkbeiner to agree to come to its mayoral forum.

Beth Lewandowski, president of the council, said it has offered Oct. 25 or 27 to Mr. Finkbeiner and Mayor Jack Ford, but only Mr. Ford has responded.

"We have sent three letters, and I have called him at his home numerous times," Ms. Lewandowski said. "We need for him to confirm so we can make plans for this event."

A spokesman for Mr. Finkbeiner said they are still weighing the two proposed dates against other invitations for mayoral forums.

Compiled by Blade staff writer Tom Troy.



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