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TPD Chief Kral discusses retirement from the force

His last day in office will be Jan. 10. He said he's dreading his last day and leaving behind the people he has worked closely with.

TOLEDO, Ohio — For 32 years, police service is the only life George Kral has known. He joined the Toledo Police Department in 1990 and was appointed chief in 2015. 

Kral said serving with his fellow officers day in and day out has been a duty and a privilege. That time is ending though; Kral announced his Jan. 10, 2023, retirement on Aug. 8.

"I could have left a long time ago, but being a part of an organization with such incredible people, it just really kept the fire lit in me," said Kral.

Retirement is mandatory eight years after the 25th anniversary of being on the force for him and all other Ohio police officers, according to the state's deferred retirement option plan.

Now, he looks back on his time as police chief and believes he helped shape the department into a better force than when he started.

"Our officers have excellent equipment, they have every resource at their disposal," he said. "I think we've helped reduce crime in Toledo. I think our residents are confident they have good, ethical officers that are out there every day doing the right thing," Kral said.

He said the department was able to accomplish those goals of his despite recent global and local challenges.

"I don't think there's a police chief or sheriff that has gone through more than we have the past five years," said Kral.

During that time, the department dealt with violent protests, skyrocketing homicide rates and the deaths of two of its own officers in 2020 and 2021.

"Two of the worst days I'll never forget were when Anthony (Dia) and Brandon (Stalker) were killed in the line of duty," he said.

Kral's peers said it was through his leadership they were able to weather these major struggles.

In a statement on Kral's retirement, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said, "I always tell Chief Kral that, in my opinion, being a police chief is the single hardest job in America, and yet Chief Kral has handled the job with grace and excellence."

Kral said his only regret was not being able to get more recruits involved to push ahead to the next generation. And as the book closes on his tenure, he's just grateful for his time on the force, which he described as the best seven-and-a-half years of his life.

"I want to thank the mayor, I want to thank the residents of the city for having me and I want to thank every officer in this department for letting me be their chief," Kral said.

He said he's dreading his last day on Jan. 10 and leaving behind the people he has worked closely with.

But, he's open to continuing to work in the public sector in a different way. And if he doesn't end up doing that, he has an 18-month-old grandbaby he looks forward to spending more time with.

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