TOLEDO Following the criminal accusations and departure of four former council members, the Toledo City Council has reconvened as a group of eight and once again begun voting on ordinances including a big one for the Toledo Police Department.
“We began to run out of space,” said TPD Lieutenant James Brown in reference to digital storage space for the footage of officers’ body-cameras. “We were doing this on our own servers and especially with the addition and purchase of new cameras, there’s not enough space to manage our servers any longer.”
Lt. Brown made that plea to the council on Aug. 4 and by Aug. 11 that $280,000 request passed unanimously, along with half a dozen other additional funding requests. Several council members, including Dr. Cecilia Adams, had qualifying questions.
“Are these funds for new additional equipment or to update what we already had existing?” said Dr. Adams. “Will every person [officer] on the street have a camera?”
Lt. Brown clarified that on top of online cloud shortage, TPD would be using the funds to purchase 195 new body-cameras for officers – assuring that every cop on the street force would be issued their own personal body-cam.
TPD also requested approximately $253,475 in funding for the partial salary payment of seven school resource officers for Toledo Public Schools and Washington Local Schools. This request was tabled for the next council meeting and brought up concerns regarding virtual schooling.
“Given the situation we’re in, with schools planning to go back virtually,” said Councilman Rob Ludeman, “What happens to those funds if there is no need in their [school resource officers’] presence in the schools?”
TPS is currently relaunching school completely virtually, with students not expected to return to the classroom until second semester.
“There very well may be an adjustment to these numbers,” said Lt. Brown. “We won’t receive the funds until we can actually establish the amount of time spent there.”
Multiple other fund appropriations passed on Aug. 11 including $84,977 toward storm drain maintenance, $339,143 toward the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo and $500,000 toward the Ohio Department of Health’s lead remediation project.
Besides the school resource officer funding, other tabled agenda items included $15,000 requested for a new computerized filing system for TPD detectives and $20,000 requested as payment to the PFM Consulting Firm. PFM was revered by Council President Mark Cherry.
“This is a small piece to a big project,” said Cherry. “It [PFM] has worked wonders for other cities … I’ll be supporting this definitely.”
Votes on PFM Consulting, the various TPD requests and other municipal funding requests have been slated for Aug. 25’s council meeting. A full list of council meeting dates and video and audio from prior meetings can be reached here.