Union, commissioners disagree on layoff plansWritten by Gail Burkhardt | | email@example.com
Parties involved in budget cuts to the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, where 16 people are scheduled to be laid off June 25, disagree on plans to prevent additional layoffs.
The sheriff’s office must cut about $1.2 million to meet this year’s budget of $33.2 million, which is the lowest it has been in the past five years, according to numbers provided Region 2-B UAW, a union representing employees of the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office, county commissioners, prosecutors and UAW discussed concessions that would cut overtime hours and increase furloughs to trim the budget and avoid 2010 layoffs, but the UAW will not agree to the concessions unless commissioners can guarantee there will be no further concessions or layoffs through the end of 2011, said Joe Rioux, international representative for Region 2-B UAW.
County Administrator Peter Ujvagi said it is possible to agree to the concessions to prevent layoffs for 2010 but impossible to make a guarantee through 2011 because of the uncertainty of the economy.
The sheriff’s office already has made cuts this year and found funding alternatives, said Jim O’Neal, Lucas County Jail Administrator.
“I’m optimistic we can find something [to avoid layoffs],” O’Neal said.
County Commissioner Ben Konop said the sheriff’s budget should not be decreased like other county departments because the sheriff’s office provides vital safety services to the county, but Commissioner Pete Gerken said road patrol can be cut because it is police departments’ responsibility. In areas where there is no police department, citizens could pay for the sheriff’s office to patrol the roads, Gerken said.
The decreased budget and the personnel cuts not only hurt individuals, but the safety of the citizens of Lucas County, especially in a poor economy when crime rates rise, said Kenneth Lortz, the director of Region 2-B UAW.
“It’s not that we’re not sensitive to the county’s budget, we’re also very sensitive to the safety of the county and our officers,” he said.
Because of the layoffs, Lucas County will stop participating in terrorism, drug and violent crime multi-jurisdictional task forces. There will be fewer security officers in common pleas court, fewer Downtown patrol officers, fewer dispatch officers, fewer inmate services officers and fewer jail/booking officers.
Northwood crime map now available online
The City of Northwood recently went live with an online crime map, hosted by www.crimereports.com. By typing in a Northwood ZIP code, users can find out what crime happened where.
The map is powered by Google and has differently colored squares pinpointing incidents of crime. An orange “A” square indicates assault; a blue “T” square indicates theft.
When police reports are typed up, the information is automatically added to the map. Sgt. Douglas Hubaker, D.A.R.E. officer at Northwood, said he believes all 2010 reports are on the map.
All the information is on public records, Hubaker said.
The city is testing the program and officials will decide this fall whether to keep it, chief of police Thomas Cairl said. He said he’s hoping for feedback from citizens.
The program costs about $50 per month, and the city is using fines from drug and alcohol offenders to pay for it, Cairl said.
“It’s not coming out of taxpayer dollars. Actually, the offenders are paying the bill on this,” Hubaker said.
These fines are slated to go toward education, and Cairl said one purpose of the crime map is education.
“We’re just trying to inform the public as much as possible of what’s going on in their neighborhood,” Hubaker said.
— Mary Petrides
‘Informer,’ the new TPD electronic newsletter, debuts
The first edition of The Toledo Police Informer hit inboxes and the Toledo Police Department website this June.
The quarterly publication includes information on TPD’s Safe-T-City program for children going into kindergarten, reminders of laws on booster seats in cars and texting while driving, and safety tips for using fireworks.
“The purpose is to provide timely, pertinent information to people that live in the community,” said said Lt. Cheryl Hunt, who wrote and edited the publication.
The publication is only available electronically, so there are no publication costs for the department, Hunt said.
She said she plans to publish the next issue in August, shortly before school starts.
In future publications, Hunt said she plans to include information on topics such as the Explorers, Block Watch and filing police reports.
She said she hopes to receive suggestions and questions from readers, police officers and citizens.
Hunt said citizens often call the police department with questions like about police issues and The Informer can help answer questions from curious citizens.
Ideas and questions be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Mary Petrides
Tags: Lucas County Sheriff