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Published: Friday, 1/17/2003

War call-up trims area police forces

Thousands of U.S. troops are in the Persian Gulf, and many more thousands are on the way.

Their mission, whether to fight the war on terrorism or prepare for a possible war with Iraq, is one local law enforcement agencies are monitoring. They are waiting to see how many of their employees who are members of the National Guard or reserves may be called for active duty.

The Toledo Police Department is short a sergeant and two officers, some of whom left after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The department will lose another officer, who learned Monday that he would be activated yesterday for duty, Lt. Deborah Toth said.

“We're running short,” she said, adding that times were even tighter when 10 officers were called for duty after the terrorist attacks.

Toledo and other agencies have to shuffle schedules and pay overtime to fill the void left by employees who are serving in the military. Most departments are covering the difference between the officers' military and regular pay.

“It's an impact, but you do what you have to do,” Maumee police Lt. Mike Noble said. “We can't do what we'd like to do because we do not have full strength.”

One Maumee officer is on active duty. Two sergeants are in the reserves but have not been called up. But with the potential of three officers out of 43 being gone, crime prevention and investigative work the department would like to do will be put on the back burner.

Perrysburg police Chief Nelson Evans agreed. Two of his 31 officers have served in the military since after the terrorist attacks. He doesn't have the manpower to do extra things, such as placing another person in the detective bureau, he said.

Lucas County Sheriff James Telb said while he hasn't had any employees called up recently, he expects some will be activated, but it won't make “a big difference” on the department's delivery of services.

Four of his employees were called for duty after the terrorist attacks. The sheriff said he has about a dozen employees in the National Guard or reserves.

A Toledo firefighter is waiting to see if she will receive her military orders, Battalion Fire Chief John Kromenacker said. Two firefighters were called to serve last year but are back now.



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