The anguish is obvious on his face as he tears through traffic, headed to a driveway along East Central Avenue Monday where Kenneth Veley was shot dead, declaring that he does not plan to stop for red lights.
“I got a son to kiss,” he says.
Note: Audio quality may be poor and stops toward the end of the video.
But by the time Mr. Veley reached detectives at the scene, his son’s body was already gone, taken away to the coroner’s office.
Another young Toledo life lost to gun violence.
Mr. Veley also decries, in the video that has now gone viral, and which he took himself, that warned his young son to stay off the streets and stay away from trouble. Watching and hearing the throes of his grief is heartbreaking.
The 16-year-old’s killing was Toledo’s fourth in June. The city has seen 21 homicides so far in 2018.
And while Toledo’s violent crime rates remain relatively low compared to other cities, the predictable uptick in violence that comes with each summer’s warm weather is distressing.
Toledo Police Chief George Kral told The Blade’s editorial board, “Everyone had the same reaction to that video. We all know he could have been any of us or any of our neighbors or friends.”
The chief addressed surging violence early this year by introducing a new program aimed at addressing the gang activity and drug trade to blame for most of the city’s shootings.
The Not in My House initiative involves officers canvassing neighborhoods to talk to residents and offering flyers and stickers to put in their windows to let the community know that drugs and illegal guns are not welcome in their home.
TPD also increased intelligence briefings about field operations, special operations, and investigations. And the department has continued Operation STOP, or Strategic Tactical Operations Policing, a program that began in March, 2017, to reduce gun violence by using crime data to inform community policing efforts.
What the department needs badly is new recruits to replace retiring officers. Chief Kral has said the department needs about 725 officers, but it has roughly 600.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz pledged during his campaign to hire 40 new recruits a year. At that rate it would take three years to get up to speed. He should try to do it in two. Toledo needs those men and women patrolling its streets — sooner rather than later. To make the chief’s anti-violence programs successful, we need more police officers, and we need them to be on the streets and visible.
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