Maumee PD to purchase communication system for $17K - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Maumee PD to purchase communication system for $17K

MAUMEE, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The Maumee Police Department is getting a new piece of equipment that is very simple, but could have a major impact in future crises. They call it a ‘drop phone.'

A drop phone is a dedicated way of communicating between police and people involved in a crisis situation, like a stand-off or hostage scenario. It's also something the department could have used earlier this year.

Police attempted ongoing negotiations with Jashua Perz in March, when Perz barricaded himself inside his home after killing his girlfriend Kaitlin Gerber.

"Those cell phones were not reliable, and we lost communication with that person a couple different times," said Police Chief Robert Zink.

Hours into the standoff, a SWAT team entered the home. Inside, they found Perz, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Had we had this equipment, we would have deployed that and had a good, stable, reliable way of communicating with that person, and maybe the resolution may have been different," Zink said.

The drop phone is a communications system for the department's special response unit.

"It's just a 2-way communication that we can deliver into a structure, so that a suspect who has no other means of communicating with us would have a communication line open," the chief explained.

The Maumee city council approved the purchase of the equipment – at a cost of $17,000 – Monday night.

Chief Zink says with cell phones not always 100 percent reliable, and landlines also being touch and go, this equipment will be dependable and usable for years to come. The Toledo and Oregon police departments already use the system.

"It's not something you're going to use weekly or anything, but those few times a year when you have to have something like that? Then it's very dependable, very reliable," Zink said.

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