Public safety should be top priorityWritten by Kevin Milliken | | email@example.com
I was driving through East Toledo during afternoon rush hour at one of the city’s busiest intersections, Front and Main Streets. I was heading from one campaign event to the next — and out of nowhere, an uninsured driver smacked into my car.
Crack, crunch, careen!
The mini-van’s front bumper scraped, scratched and smashed the whole driver’s side of my vehicle. Luckily, I was able to pull my car to the side of the road. But I could barely open the door to get out.
I immediately called 911, because I wasn’t sure if anyone was hurt and the debris left a big mess on a busy road. The operator told me we would each have to exchange information and drive our cars to the nearest police station to file a report.
Why? Because there were not enough police officers to respond.
I ran to check on the occupants of the mini-van. When I got there, the young driver stated she and a passenger were unhurt, then apologized and admitted it was her fault. I asked about car insurance. She had none.
My immediate thoughts ranged from getting stuck with paying for the repairs myself, to the other motorist driving away after giving false information, to just taking off before we ever arrived at the police station.
All of those scenarios were possible without a police response to hold the other driver accountable.
But I got lucky twice in the next two minutes.
A fire battalion chief had rolled up on the scene and radioed for a police cruiser because both vehicles appeared to be disabled from all the debris.
He drove off before I could get his name or thank him for the extra effort.
A driver who witnessed the accident also stopped and voluntarily handed me her contact information.
A two-man crew of TPD’s finest arrived minutes later and took a report, then cited the other driver for the accident and lack of insurance.
Within half an hour, I was back on the road, on my way to the next campaign stop.
I’m still stuck with an expensive deductible, but at least I won’t have the hassle of civil litigation and mountains of paperwork. Let the insurance company handle that. But it begs the question: How many other accident victims are facing that nightmare without proper police protection?
How many homeowners won’t have a detective follow through with an investigation because of a theft, break-in, or other property crime without the men and women in blue at full strength?
I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for those unwitting victims.
Get angry and hold the political powers-that-be accountable for their indecision, inaction and ineptitude.
The Finkbeiner administration laid off 75 police officers in May. Federal stimulus money brought back 31 of Toledo’s finest. What about the other 44?!?
What has Toledo city council done about the budget deficit the last four months? Zero. Zip. Nada.
Council and the mayor spent the entire summer arguing over two lame ideas to bring those officers back — a tax increase or asking voters to rob from the road repair fund to pay for public safety.
Hello? There’s a third option, one involving common sense, good sense and no-nonsense. It’s what we’re all doing at home.
Cut the budget. Live within your means. If it isn’t in your wallet; don’t spend it!
A trash tax increase won’t fly — it’s an election year. That would be political suicide for any incumbent councilman. So, why should voters have to choose between smooth streets and police on patrol?
We can have both. We expect both. We pay enough taxes for both. That is, if you’d stop your political bickering, do what we elected you to do, and find other ways to cut the budget or restructure city government! If they won’t do it, please vote for someone who will.
Ladies and gentlemen of Toledo’s police and fire departments — despite all this political turmoil, you continue to serve with honor and dignity, respect and professionalism.
You looked out for me. If elected, I’ve got your back, too. I will do whatever I can to ensure you have all the tools, training and talent you need to do your jobs properly.
We want you ready to respond when we need you — and we do need you.
Kevin Milliken is an independent candidate for an at-large seat on Toledo City Council, running as part of a coalition called Teamwork Toledo. His campaign Web site is www.teamworktoledo.com.
Tags: Teamwork Toledo