Perrysburg to examine public safety services

PERRYSBURG, OH (Toledo News Now) – Perrysburg said it is trying to keep up. City government said the population is booming and so are public safety needs.

For about six months, an outside company will study Perrysburg's fire and police operations. The company will then make recommendations. The mayor said the goal is to ensure Perrysburg is getting the best public safety services possible.

It all started with the Perrysburg Police Division. Officers said they have been handling a steadily increasing workload as the area grows, so the chief took the issue to city government.

"We wanted to maintain the same standard of service, and to maintain that quality of life that I think Perrysburg offers. It's in my opinion, one of the best communities to live in in northwest Ohio," said Perrysburg Police Chief Dan Paez.

When council members took a closer look they realized the problem went beyond the police.

"Just 20 years ago when I started, we were running about 600 calls a year with three people or two people on duty. And now we're running over 2,000 calls and we've got five people on duty. Few departments see that kind of growth that we're seeing right now," explained Jeff Klein, Perrysburg's Fire Chief.

The city said its public safety study will help determine how to best meet Perrysburg's needs. Some options include building a second fire station and hiring more police officers, but the fire division said the most important thing is transparency.

"We're showing everybody what we do, how we do things, and we want people to understand what it is that we do and why we do it. If they understand that, that will be one of those things that will actually help us do our job better to protect them," said Klein.

City officials said it is too early to tell how any changes would affect taxpayers, but they believe being proactive can only help.

"If you don't stay ahead of it, you're always playing catchup, and then you end up running into other problems. So we're trying to avoid those problems and I think it's going to save taxpayers money in the long run and still provide better services," said Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evans.

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