Local police to step up patrols for casino's 1st days

5/27/2012
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
CTY-casino09p

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky

Toledo police say they are intent on making sure everyone stays safe when Hollywood Casino Toledo opens to the public Tuesday.

"We want to provide a safe environment to all visitors to the casino," police Capt. Brad Weis said.

In the weeks leading up to the opening, police have finalized their plans, saying they will have a number of officers — Captain Weis wouldn't say how many, exactly — specifically monitoring activity around the casino with a focus on traffic issues that might arise.

The officers will be in the area on detail for two weeks, the captain said.

Funds for the patrols will come from the city, Captain Weis said.

City spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei said a specific amount being spent on the overtime was not available, but when the annual budget was created and overtime for the police department wasset, events such as the casino opening and political visits were taken into account.

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Ms. Sorgenfrei said the department tracks all of the overtime pay it spends and will specifically document how much is spent on activity related to the casino.

In addition to traffic congestion and crashes, police anticipate that most of the problems will be car break-ins, thefts, and robberies.

Toledo police will not be stationed inside the casino unless they are called.

Hollywood Casino Toledo will have an armed security presence — 11 officers and a supervisor — from the Ohio attorney general's Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The BCI officers will focus on gaming issues, such as people who bribe employees or attempt to cheat at games.

The casino also will have its own guards, but they won't carry guns or have the power to make arrests.

Security guards will cover the gaming floor and will use a vehicle and bicycles to patrol the grounds.

The biggest headache for the casino staff is likely to be stopping those under 21 from entering the casino or the restaurants, casino officials have said.

Rossford police, who have received more than $200,000 from the casino in anticipation of expenses, also will work to maintain a steady flow of traffic and respond to any related problems.