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Published: Tuesday, 3/16/2010

Navarre writes dire scenario if 125 officers are laid off

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo's chief of police expects daily violence to "undoubtedly increase" if 125 police officers are laid off to address a $48 million budget deficit.

Police Chief Mike Navarre made that prediction to Mayor Mike Bell in a March 8 letter.

"Daily violence will undoubtedly increase without the officers in the schools and with a reduction in the specialized gang unit," the chief wrote. "The loss of the community services officer program means that no officers will be available to attend block watch meetings and serve as liaisons between community groups and the police department."

The chief said burglaries increased 23 percent in 2009 and expects the trend to continue this year and likely worsen. He also said response times for calls for service would increase dramatically.

Mayor Bell sent 125 officers 30-day layoff notices on Monday.

Currently there are 591 sworn officers on the force.

"By April 15th that number will be reduced to approximately 584," the chief wrote. "The loss of an additional 100-125 officers would take the department down to approximately 460. Additional retirements this year would lower that number to about 440 by December 31."

He said a vast majority of layoffs would come from the ranks of patrol since the city is "severely hampered" by an arbitrator's decision on Toledo's ability to lay off command officers.

"Having 440 sworn officers at year's end would equate to a ratio of 1.38 per 1,000 people in our city," Chief Navarre wrote. "This ratio is dangerously low and would seriously impact the ability of our police department to keep this community safe."

His planned changes to the police department include:

• No longer responding to non-injury accidents.

• Cutting the Safe-T-City program this summer.

• Closing the Northwest District Station.

• Reassigning the 14 officers currently at the junior and senior high schools in the Toledo and Washington Local school districts to field operations.

• Reducing the number of officers in the gang unit by 50 percent.

• Eliminating the community services officer program.

• Eliminating the police probation team and transferring one patrol officer to field operations.

• Eliminating the police employee assistance program.

• Reducing the investigative services bureau and transferring 15 detectives to field operations.

• Reducing the vice/narcotics bureau and transferring the eight detectives to field operations.

• Eliminating the officer assigned full time to the FBI's Prostitution Task Force and transferring that person to field operations.

• Eliminating the officer assigned full time to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and transferring that officer to field operations.

• Eliminating the officer assigned full time to the FBI's Fugitive Task Force transferring that officer to field operations.

• Eliminating one of the two remaining SWAT teams and transferring the 10 patrol officers back to field operations.

• Eliminating the Police Athletic League sergeant position.

• Eliminating the City Council Sergeant At Arms police officer position and transferring that officer back to field operations.



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