TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - With fewer Toledo police officers already, and possible retirements coming soon, there's a push by two Toledo City Council members to get the next class of police officers in training much sooner.
Thursday, Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association (TPPA), says he has joined the fight.
"We're extremely short man-power wise," said Wagner.
He says currently, TPD has 580 officers.
And although 25 men and women are in the police academy, about 40 officers could retire in 2017.
Wagner uses a letter from 2009 to explain why it's necessary to move up the police class.
It's a letter written from then Police Chief Mike Navarre to then Mayor Carty Finkbeiner about what happens when officer numbers dip too low.
"We're going to be at this number where, Chief Navarre at the time, spoke about the catastrophic changes and the impact on the community," said Wagner.
The 2009 letter outlined eliminating programs like school resource officers, the gang unit and community services in order to move those officers to patrol.
It's those service-related special teams that could be cut this time if the number of officers isn't high enough.
Lt. Joe Heffernan, police department spokesman, says those programs are very important.
"However, they do take a back seat to what our primary function is, which is to respond to your emergency if you're in a crisis situation," said Lt. Heffernan.
The next police class isn't scheduled until December.
Then it's a long time before those officers are actually on the street.
"By the time you're all finished with you're academy training and field training, it's going to be a minimum of 10 months," said Lt. Heffernan.
Both TPPA president Wagner and Lt. Heffernan agree that moving up the police class would be better for the department.
"We need to beef up the streets because we need to give the men and women some relief. They can't be working seven days a week, 16 hours a day," said Wagner. "We also need to maintain the specialty units because those are the units going after the people that are creating the most havoc in our
Moving up the class does cost money.
Council members Lindsay Webb and Tom Waniewski are both working on changes to the proposed 2017 city budget to move the police class up from December to the summer.
Wagner is encouraging people to reach out to their council representative in support of moving up the class.