Guest Editorial Week of 1/25/2021

Ron Craig

Officer killed in Toledo is a wake-up call to all

For the second time in a little more than six months, the Toledo Police Department is mourning the loss of an officer killed in the line of duty. These tragic events should be a wake-up call to everyone about the importance of crime prevention in our daily lives.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Officer Brandon Stalker and his fellow officers. and to the family of Officer Anthony Dia, who was murdered on July 4 last year.
In the Officer Stalker murder, the shooter was a suspect in the vandalism of a church in the downtown Toledo area earlier that day.
Although we cannot turn the clock back, it makes one wonder how different things would have been had someone reported the church vandalism when it occurred and the perpetrator had been arrested at the scene. Certainly, the perp would not have been at the Fulton Street house later that day when he fired the fatal shot that struck Officer Stalker.
Although the phrase “see something, say something” was not made widely popular until the events of 9-11 when terrorists turned passenger jets into missiles to kill thousands of people, we have been asking citizens to immediately report suspicious activity.
We sometimes think Lake Township and the surrounding areas are isolated from big city problems, not realizing we are a few minutes drive down I-280 from Toledo. Of course, you don’t have to live in a big city to experience such issues. We are fortunate to be located in a relatively quiet and law-abiding area, but we are not immune from problems that are usually attributed to bigger cities.
We appreciate the vast majority of residents who support law enforcement. This was evidenced by the recent vote for the passage of our police levy.
While COVID-19 has temporarily halted some of my usual activities as the township’s crime prevention officer and community policing officer, I still maintain contact with community members albeit on a mainly non-personal contact basis, but I usually have lunch at restaurants in the area. Not a week goes by that I don’t experience several people thanking me for my service and showing their appreciation in many ways.
This shows that area citizens are truly supporters of law enforcement, and these comments and gestures are gratefully appreciated. It’s unfortunate that this support seems to be drowned out at times by the few who feel otherwise, but law enforcement officers in this area know the naysayers are in the minority.
Law enforcement officers at all levels—federal, state. county and local—put their lives on the line every day to protect others.
Those of us who remember the 1980s TV crime drama Hill Street Blues may recall the wise words Sgt. Esterhaus uttered every day as he dismissed the officers from morning roll call—“Hey, let’s be careful out there!” Good advice indeed for all officers.

This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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