Toledo Police Department’s newest class of recruits is set to graduate from the police academy Friday, which is good news for a city that is facing a manpower shortage on its force.
The bad news is that the 39 new officers nearly ready to join the department are not nearly enough to bring TPD up to the staffing level that Chief George Kral needs to keep Toledo safe.
When this new class of cadets hits the streets, TPD will have about 660 officers. That gets the department closer to the 725 officers Mr. Kral has said it needs.
The problem is that TPD could potentially be losing officers to retirement faster than it can replace them. In 2017, about 150 officers all became eligible to retire. While not all of those eligible officers took retirement, they will eventually leave the job.
The department needs to be steadily preparing new classes of diverse, talented, high-quality rookies to fill its ranks. Without enough officers, the city risks not having adequate resources to respond to violent crime.
Faced with a shortage that could jeopardize Mr. Kral’s ability to patrol the city’s streets, city council and then-Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson moved up the start date last summer for the police academy class that will graduate shortly.
City officials have made some plans for another class at the academy this year. Applications for the academy closed on Dec. 31, which means the city should have a pool of potential new cops ready to begin training.
The city has committed to funding a new academy class this year and has set a tentative start date for the seven-month training, in July.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz committed during his campaign last fall to hiring 40 new officers each year.
Now that the new mayor is in office and he and city council are rolling up their sleeves to prepare a new budget, it is imperative that the city follow through on the promises to train a new class of Toledo police officers in 2018.
The mayor’s campaign pledge of at least one new police academy class a year was his only real promise. It is a solemn one, and one he must keep.
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