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The Thin Blue Line

April 25, 2009
TPD Chief Mike Navarre talks about layoffs

TPD Chief Mike Navarre talks about layoffs

I know the responsibility I feel as a mother to keep my daughter safe.  Imagine being responsible for the safety of 300,000 people.  That’s the burden Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre carries.   I talked to the Chief Friday night, one week before 150 police officers–25% of the force–were to be laid off.   What are his major concerns?  He has many.  He’s worried about the well being of the men and women who are being laid off–and their families.  He’s worried about the officers being reassigned to positions and shifts they’re not familiar nor comfortable with.  He’s worried his officers won’t be able to adequately respond to victims, and that Toledoans will be so frustrated and afraid they’ll start taking the law into their own hands.  And he’s worried about the timing of all of this:  Summer is traditionally a high-crime season and before it even gets started, the department’s behind the 8 ball with too few officers trying to keep up with too many criminals.  And yet, with calm and grace, the Chief is doing the very best he can with what he has.  On May 1st, if the layoffs occur, Toledo will have 1.5 police officers for every 1,000 residents.  It’s a dismal number.  The worst in Ohio, the worst in the entire Midwest for a city this size.  The  Chief is hopeful it will be a short-term problem; maybe until stimulus money comes through in August or September.  But he’s realistic and knows by then it may be too late.     The thin blue line is getting thinner by the day…layoffs, budget cuts…rising crime…and the Chief’s doing his best to walk it one step at a time.  Let’s hope there’s a solution to the Toledo Police Crisis before we start seeing some very ugly results.

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