TPD Chief addresses success, challenges at 'Report to the Community'

TPD Chief addresses success, challenges at 'Report to the Community'

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Transparency. That's what Chief George Kral has fought to increase since he first stepped into his role at the Toledo Police Department.

Monday night, he made clear he wants to continue that trend in his "Report to the Community" at the Toledo Public Library in downtown Toledo.

When it comes to what's going on inside the city's police department, Toledo Police Chief George Kral said he's an open book.

"If they want to know how many officers have been disciplined last year it's at the click of a mouse," the Chief said. "And it just increases the confidence that we're not keeping things hidden."

Chief Kral laid out why it's so important to do things to earn the community's trust at the community meeting Monday evening.

He gave the example of this year's town hall meetings and listening sessions, going into neighborhoods to hear people's concerns.

That effort was mentioned as among the most important issues to the people in attendance at the meeting.

"I'm very excited that they're going to expand or push more with the community services department," said David Shull of East Toledo, following the Chief's speech. "I see that as a very important aspect of policing."

Florence McLennan, a West Toledo Block watch leader who was there, agreed.

"They are focusing a lot on younger people and I think that's good," she said. "I think younger people tended to be suspicious of the police department and the more we work with that population, the better it will be I think," McLennan said.

Overall, the chief said crime went down in 2017. But he admits it's been a tough year, with the death of two of their own officers due to illnesses, and the shooting of Detective Jason Picking, who is still recovering from his injuries on the job.

And with a recent uptick in violence this fall on the south and east side, community members told WTOL 11, they want to see even more officers reaching out, and more citizens reaching back by showing up to TPD's town hall meetings.

"It's pretty hard to build a trust over there," said David Shull. "And a lot of that has to do with the citizens being able to speak up and coming out and telling police what's going on, so they can better get a handle on what's going on in East Toledo."

The Chief also talked about efforts to get more recruits this year. With 623 officers currently, he said they need closer to 700 to be where they want to be for Toledo's population.

Chief Kral said he plans to talk with Mayor-elect Wade Kapszukiewicz in January about adding more officers to foot patrols, more detectives and more to the gang unit.

"Just to help us be more well-rounded," said the chief. "And when it comes down to it you need people to fill these slots. And I'm not there yet."

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