Federal grant called for more TPD officers

The Toledo Police Department received $7,149,437 in 2009 from the federal government in an effort to get 495 officers patrolling city streets.

However, that number has never been met, and City Council Member D. Michael Collins says he is wondering if that money will have to be paid back.

Mayor Mike Bell says it is not an issue.

"From the standpoint of the federal government, all we have to do is show intent that we are trying to do the best we can with what we have. They say they're ok with that. So there is no chance of anyone coming and taking money from us," says Bell.

The city did hire 31 officers in 2010 after the grant was issued, which would have met the 495 goal, but that number didn't make up for losses.

"More police officers have retired than has been the experience of any other former mayor," says Collins.

In recent years, the city has hired more officers per year than any other year since 1995, when there was 61 hires, but Toledo still sits below the target at about 457 officers right now.

Collins explains, "The standard across the country is about 2.8 officers per thousand. The City of Toledo sits at about 1.75 right now..

Though there are less officers than the city can have, due to advances in surveillance and technology, Mayor Bell says that the crime rate is actually down.

"It's not only having the officers out there," says Bell, "it's having the cameras out there and other things similar to that, to be able to lower our crime rate."

While the city is still trying to meet the grant number, projections have the city falling short once again come next year due to the number of expected retirements, which is 45.

The number of officers expected to be hired in the next year is 50, but the hiring class of officers, which starts in fall, will only total 40, which will land the city with five less officers than are on the beat now.