Since the elimination in October of the Toledo Police Department's on-call officers, Deputy Chief Don Kenney said it has been difficult getting detectives to come in on their days off to respond to homicides or other major crimes.
As a result, the department is reducing the number of crimes against persons detectives during the day and increasing the number at night - when serious crimes are more likely to occur, the deputy chief said.
"In order to avoid any great loss of time on serious crimes like homicides and rapes, we wanted to make sure we have ample detectives available to respond as soon as possible," Deputy Chief Kenney said.
Beginning Jan. 1, the daytime shift will be reduced from eight detectives to six and the midnight shift will increase from five detectives to seven.
The afternoon shift will remain staffed with six detectives, Deputy Chief Don Kenney said.
The changes do not include special victims unit detectives.
The on-call positions were eliminated after the patrol officers and command officers' unions refused to amend their contracts to allow officers driving home city-owned vehicles to pay for their gasoline.
The city implemented the requirement in an effort to close a $10 million deficit in this year's general operating fund budget.
Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, said the changes could significantly drive up overtime costs.
Afternoon and midnight detectives leading homicide investigations will attend court and follow up with witnesses during the day, for which they will be paid overtime, he said.
He estimated detectives potentially could be paid an additional $10,000 to $15,000 in overtime alone as a result of moving more detectives to the midnight shift.
He said it would cost the city much less to pay to fuel the city-owned vehicles.
Robert Reinbolt, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's chief of staff, said the city is facing a tough economic crisis and encourages sacrifices.
"It wouldn't have to change if they would pay a minimal amount," Mr. Reinbolt said. "If they are truly concerned with saving citizens' money, I would suggest they accept some changes and we all work together instead of being in opposition to the changes."
Prior to the elimination, five officers were on call each week, including a homicide detective, members of the bomb squad, special victims unit, scientific investigative unit, and an employee assistance officer.
During that week, the officers drove home a city-owned vehicle and were paid four hours of overtime.
Deputy Chief Kenney said the day-shift detectives still will be called and asked to come in to investigate a homicide or other major crime.
But if they are unreachable, a detective on duty will take the case, he said.
"In serious crimes, you've got to look at the best way possible to solve the crime and bring the people to justice who committed that crime," the deputy chief said. "Obviously, we try to keep overtime to a minimum, but that's not always possible."
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