The appointment of retired police Sgt. Chris Delaney to Toledo City Council is interesting and welcome. Mr. Delaney brings an expertise to council that no other member can claim.
Mr. Delaney fills the District 6 seat vacated by former Councilman Lindsay Webb, who is now county treasurer.
As a police officer, Mr. Delaney, 53, has been a patrol officer, a sergeant on patrol, and worked in the gang task force, as well as on vice, burglary, and property crimes. He supervised officers investigating theft, bad check writing, and computer crimes.
His last job was in forfeiture — having to do with taking possession of cars, money, and property that was believed to be used in the commission of crimes.
As a career officer with 30 years behind him, and as a supervisor of other officers, Mr. Delaney brings a knowledge about crime fighting and public safety that comes at a critical moment. No one previously on council knows these issues from the inside. He can, in the best sense, help to educate council.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz has commendably partnered with Police Chief George Kral to create new strategies for dealing with a disturbing wave of homicides in the city, and what appears to be a flourishing black market drug trade. Mr. Delaney can also be an ally for the mayor and chief on council.
The appointment of Mr. Delaney is temporary and it will be up to voters to give thumbs up or down in the special election on May 8 (also this year’s partisan primary).
There is no question that Mr. Delaney brings something fresh and vitally useful to council, but now he must fight to hold the seat and that will take a whole different set of skills than a policeman normally possesses — political skills.
As a member of the Toledo Police Command Officers Union, Mr. Delaney served on the executive board and was on the contract negotiating team twice. He was a longtime member of the union’s screening committee — interviewing candidates for council and mayoral endorsement. So, clearly, Mr. Delaney is not a complete stranger to the political process. But campaigning is very different from participation or awareness.
Mr. Delaney would be the first ex-policeman on council since the late D. Michael Collins. Mike Collins was a former foot patrolman and detective who turned himself into a nurturing district councilman — every call got returned and no problem or complaint was too small for his attention. He talked to everyone, and at length. A trip to Kroger for a gallon of milk might take him two hours. He was a great retail politician. Mr. Collins moved from district councilman to mayor in 2013, winning as an independent and an underdog.
Mr. Delaney could do worse than to make Mayor Collins, the councilman, his role model.
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