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'An extraordinarily successful operation': City officials, TPD explain north Toledo initiative to reduce violence and keep residents safe

Although residents were kept in the dark during Operation L.A.S.E.R., both the mayor and TPD believe the initiative was successful and have numbers to back it up.

TOLEDO, Ohio — For two weeks in January, Toledo police focused on improving safety and livability in a single Toledo neighborhood in need of help.

Beginning Jan. 10, the city concentrated their efforts on the Lagrange area, confiscating guns, making arrests and seizing illegal drugs.

But it wasn't until the two-week Operation LASER -- Lagrange Area Safety Enforcement Response -- ended that city officials made the initiative public.

Toledo Police Chief George Kral said Monday that was his call to keep the operation a secret and he believes it was the right one.

"I'm not saying that we're trying to lock people up here, but we are trying to make a dent in the crime," Kral said. "Announcing it would have grossly reduced the number of arrests we made, drugs we've taken off the street, guns we've taken off."

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said despite his commitment to transparency, this operation wasn't announced publicly for the sake of seeing how the program would be if people didn't know the logistics.

"Sometimes the need-to-know threatens the success of an initiative, a program or an operation. I will take the heat for that if there is any heat, but I'm glad we did it that way," Kapszukiewicz said.

"Sometimes the need-to-know threatens the success of an initiative, a program or an operation. I will take the heat for that if there is any heat, but I'm glad we did it that way," Kapszukiewicz said.

Although residents were in the dark, both the mayor and TPD believe the initiative was successful and have numbers to back it up:

  •     52 guns taken off the streets
  •     212 people arrested
  •     463 tickets issued
  •     $274,175 worth of illegal drugs taken off the streets

These numbers are only from the operation, which started on Jan. 10 and ended on Jan. 24.

"This is an extraordinarily successful operation," Kapszukiewicz said.

It's comprised of two parts: limiting the violence in the Lagrange area and working to improve the quality of life.

"We will begin in the L.A.S.E.R. area tearing down and demolishing homes," Toledo's Public Service Director, Paul Rasmusson, said. "Backfilling them and making them an attractive green space and no longer a nuisance."

Maintenance also includes removing junk vehicles and cleaning the streets and alleys.

The mayor says because this operation was successful, they do have plans to do it again.

"I'm glad we did it that way and there will be other operations and things that we do this year that will operate the same way," Kapszukiewicz said. 

The enforcement side of the operation has ended, although officials say the community aspect of maintaining and improving quality of life will continue.

The police chief said the only extra costs were overtime hours for officers.

Operation L.A.S.E.R. Press Conference

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and Toledo Police Chief George Kral discuss the city's Lagrange Area Safety Enforcement Response program.

Posted by WTOL 11 on Monday, January 24, 2022

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