TOLEDO, Ohio — Former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner outlined his plans to fight violence in the city during a news conference outside the Safety Building on Monday, hours after a suspect was shot and killed by officers and following a violent weekend in the city.
Finkbeiner outlined 10 recommendations that he said should be implemented as soon as possible:
- Enforce Toledo's curfew. The city of Toledo has a curfew unless you're with a parent or guardian. Kids 10 years and under should be home by 10 p.m., ages 11 to 15 by 11 p.m. and 16 and 17-year-olds by midnight.
- Bring Toledo Police Department, Lucas County Sheriff's Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol and federal ATF officials into a partnership for "for as long as it takes to double or triple the number of police cars in Toledo's violent neighborhoods." Finkbeiner said he did this in the past "and it worked," he said, giving the city 90 days of nonviolence during his mayorship.
- Pass anti-gun legislation to ban cheap, "Saturday-night specials" and "multiple firing machine gun" weapons. He said this legislation passed successfully when he was mayor and then councilman and current Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz voted for it.
- Put a gun buyback program in place immediately and dramatically enhance the amount given for the weapons turned in. "We've got plenty of money. Double or triple the amount you're given (for turning in a gun) ... Never has the city had nearly $200 million to get creative with," Finkbeiner said. "Look at the amount of money being spent to repave Summit Street ... we can use the money for this."
- Employ youth in city cleanup and beautification efforts. Finkbeiner said Detroit hired 8,000 youth in a program such as this and it's seeing positive results.
- Double or triple the amount of the reward money for those who provide solid data leading to the arrest of those committing violent crimes. "We've got plenty of money (to do so)," Finkbeiner said. "Money talks at every level - corporate and street - it talks."
- Start a major initiative to bring the Block Watch program back into all neighborhoods. Finkbeiner said the city is down to only about 20 today, whereas there used to be 200 Block Watch programs.
- Consider placing drop boxes in each fire station where people can leave information regarding public safety. "We need more data. ... We need citizens to feel comfortable coming into fire stations," he said.
- Meet with judges and make sure that those repeatedly committing serious crimes are held accountable.
- Have the mayor and city council stand united in Toledo police initiatives that will bring peace and safety to Toledo neighborhoods. "These badges should be worn with pride. ... Let us hand the ball off to a combination of people, but the leaders must be TPD," Finkbeiner said. "They have what's needed to quiet our streets and neighborhoods down, and they can do so respectfully."
Though Finkbeiner stressed the importance of police presence on the streets and having "plenty of money" coming to the city on Monday, that wasn't the case in 2009 when Finkbeiner's Balanced Budget Plan called for the layoffs of 150 police officers. The Command Officers Association also filed a temporary restraining order against the city at the time, saying the layoff of 20 command officers violated their agreements with the city.
At the time, then-Mayor Finkbeiner released the following statement: "I do not wish to lay off any member of our Safety Forces or other City personnel that provide service to our citizens. Yet, I must take this action in order to balance a $20 million deficit that is growing by $500,000 each week. However, it is not too late to greatly reduce the announced number of layoffs. To City Council and the members of our Unions: The power is in our hands. I again appeal to you to join with us to reduce the number of layoffs through passing our entire Balanced Budget Plan. The Balanced Budget Plan will balance Toledo's budget with few layoffs."
WTOL 11 has reached out to mayoral candidate Jan Scotland and incumbent Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz for any response to Finkbeiner's recommendations.
Kapszukiewicz's campaign sent a statement: "During his last term as Mayor, Carty laid off nearly 100 police officers and eliminated the gang task force. The fact is this: during tough budget times, Carty went right to police layoffs to solve his problem. He made the City worse because he wasn’t up to the task.
"Mayor Wade inherited budget challenges too, and also faced the recession brought about by COVID, and yet he’s been able to grow the police force and balance the City’s budget. Bad leaders make bad decisions. That’s why Toledo cannot afford one more day of Carty Finkbeiner - let alone 4 more years."
Mayoral candidate Jan Scotland says the recent crime Toledo's seen is becoming more typical and it's unfortunate.
He believes it can be fixed and it starts with stopping the narrative that police are villains.
"With that going on, it is very difficult to get the police back to where they need to be. We used to have great relationships, we still can have them. We have community programs and things of that sort. We've got to get back to that and off of this villainizing of police, and that's important," Scotland said.