Navarre reverses course, wants township to pay

Kelly J. Kaczala

        At a Jerusalem Township Trustee meeting in May, Lucas County Sheriff Michael J. Navarre told trustees that deputies will continue to provide road patrols into 2023, although not 24/7 as deputies currently do.
        He said there would be a deputy in the township 50-percent of the time without charge.
        It was an improvement over his previous decision to bill the township $750,000 annually to continue road patrols due to Lucas County budget cuts.
        Navarre had sent a letter to the township in December stating patrols would end in the township on Jan. 1, 2023 if trustees did not pay the bill. 
        “You’re here tonight wondering what’s going to happen in 2023,” Navarre said to trustees. “You’re going to have a road patrol. You’re not going to see an improvement in service because your trustees have informed me that a decision has been made. They are not going to contribute any funding for improved service.”
        Oregon supplants service in Jerusalem Township, said Navarre, who was Oregon police chief for nine years before he was elected sheriff last year.
        “Oregon does very well financially because it has two oil refineries and two hospitals. As long as they keep operating, they are not going to have any problems. It has a well-staffed, well equipped, well trained police department. Generally, they will put out four officers plus a supervisor around the clock. They don’t seem to have much of a problem taking care of their business, and helping out Jerusalem Township. I know from my experience in Oregon there were times when there were no sheriff’s deputies out here,” said Navarre.
        “I’m not here to tell you the world’s going to end,” he said. “Life is going to go on. Most of you are not going to see any difference in police service as long as Oregon continues to bail us out. They’re kind enough to do that. And that’s the way police departments work. If Oregon is in trouble, and they need staffing, Northwood comes over and helps. Oregon pretty much covers Jerusalem Township. I tried to talk Oregon into assuming responsibility for the township, but they have the same problem I have, they want money and it’s just not going to work out. There was also some talk about Ottawa County doing the same thing, but it’s kind of the same situation.”
        At the time, Trustee Mark Sattler said he was pleased to hear that road patrols would not end.
        “We’re very grateful to Sheriff Navarre,” said Sattler. “He understands our financial situation, and he is not insisting we purchase coverage from him. He’s going to continue to provide sheriff deputy coverage at 50 percent. We think that’s a wonderful outcome. We’re glad to still have a sheriff presence. Our township doesn’t have the funds to be able to afford a large bill for a contract with the sheriff’s department. So we’re very pleased he’s going to continue to provide law enforcement services to Jerusalem Township.”
        But a letter from Navarre to Sattler and Trustees David Bench and Beau Miller dated Aug. 12 stated that the township was expected to pay for sheriff services or receive a reduction in services, by Jan. 1, 2023.
        “The Lucas County Sheriff’s Office is the primary provider of law enforcement services to eight townships in Lucas County,” states Navarre in the letter. “Two of those eight townships have chosen to properly compensate Lucas County for that service. You are one of six townships that have not, and have indicated you do not intend to provide any compensation.
        “On February 9, 2021, and December 6, 2021, you received a written correspondence from me notifying you that a reduction in law enforcement services would occur in your township unless Lucas County was properly compensated. You have been provided with options for full service, 24 hours per day seven days per week, and partial service. To date, you have indicated that it is your intent not to provide any compensation,” states the letter.
        “This is to advise you that on January 1, 2023, you will see a noticeable reduction in services,’ continued the letter. “The sheriff’s office will make an individualized analysis of each call for service to determine if it involves circumstances that constitute a breach of the peace. Our deputies will no longer respond to non-violent offenses, or incidents where a threat of injury is not present. Your residents will be required to appear in person at our records bureau at 1622 Spielbusch Avenue, Toledo, to make reports. It is also likely that there will be no preventative police patrols in your township.”
        Sattler said he was surprised by the letter, since the meeting in May Navarre seemed to settle the matter to the satisfaction of trustees.
        “Everyone went away pretty happy because that was satisfactory. It is a win for the Township. We thanked him, and told him how much we appreciated it. He’s completely changed his mind. I don’t quite understand what happened,” he said.
        “He’s going back on his word. That’s how it reads to me,” he said of Navarre on Wednesday. “There was no communication, nothing to suggest he changed his mind. The first notification that something else was going on is this letter.”
       Navarre could not be reached for comment.


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