Monday, Dec 11, 2017
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Police & Fire

Joint patrol between Mercy Health and Toledo police on hold

A combined patrol of Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center and Toledo police officers has been suspended, but officials from both groups hope to revive it.

An officer from each department together patrolled neighborhoods around the hospital as a community-policing effort. Beginning in January, 2016, the police would cover areas including Lagrange Street to Collingwood Boulevard.

Erica Blake, a spokesman for Mercy Health, said they suspended the program last July because of staffing levels. The Mercy Health officer joined Toledo's police academy.

Hospital police have responsibilities for several campuses and buildings under construction, Ms. Blake said. The team was successful in its work, she said.

“The desire is absolutely still there to continue the partnership,” Ms. Blake said.

There is no timeframe for reimplementing the patrol. Mercy Health still possesses the vehicle.

Toledo police online records show a range of criminal reports within a half mile of the hospital. In the past 30 days, officers took reports of 18 assaults, 10 menacing cases, eight instances of possessing a controlled substance, and two aggravated robberies.

In an interview, Chief George Kral said the crew engaged in proactive policing in that neighborhood.

“Any time that we can collaborate with another agency, whether it be public or private, I jump at the opportunity,” Chief Kral said.

He called the partnership a force-multiplier for both. Those officers were dedicated to the area around Mercy's campus, getting to know residents who live in the area.

Ending that patrol cuts a connection to the community, Chief Kral said. They engaged in proactive policing in that neighborhood and had an institutional knowledge of what appeared out of place, he said.

Toledo police still maintain a joint downtown patrol with the Lucas County Sheriff's Office during the day. 

Chief Kral said he would be ready to commit an officer if Mercy has the resources.

Contact Ryan Dunn at rdunn@theblade.com, 419-724-6095, or on Twitter @RDunnBlade.

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