The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


After Lake Township police officers responded to a fight in progress in the Village of Walbridge because village officers couldn’t be reached by emergency dispatchers, Mark Hummer, township police chief, is questioning the village administration’s commitment to its own police department.

According to 9-1-1 audio tapes, Wood County dispatchers tried to contact village officers several times July 21 about a fight at an apartment at 519 N. Main St. before calling for township police. A township officer can be heard responding within seconds after a dispatcher asks for an available Lake Township unit.

When township police arrived around 10 p.m., they found Nathaniel Amerson, Toledo, sitting in the parking lot of the complex and having difficulty breathing. His neck was red and there were cuts around his eyes.

His brother, Samual Amerson, 22, told officers the two had been in a fight over a stolen cell phone and admitted to choking his brother.

Samual was charged with second degree felonious assault and receiving stolen property, a fifth degree felony. Police said he had a stolen credit card in his possession at the time.

“Although the incident took place in the Village of Walbridge, officers from the Lake Township Police Department responded to the scene, due to the fact that dispatchers were not able to make contact with officers from the Walbridge Police Department,” Chief Hummer said in a prepared statement. “In addition to responding to the location of the fight, Lake Township officers were able to locate the Walbridge officers and advise the Walbridge officers of the incident.”

Proposals rejected
At Walbridge Mayor Ed Kolanko’s request, Lake Township, the City of Northwood, and Wood County Sheriff’s Department earlier this year submitted proposals for police service to the village. Chief Hummer’s proposal of $295,000 a year, excluding dispatching costs, was the lowest. The sheriff’s proposal was $363,655 and Northwood’s proposal was $350,000; both included dispatching expenses.

After receiving the proposals, Mayor Kolanko said village residents appear to favor retaining the village department and he would find ways to contain departmental costs.

The village spent about $402,000 last year for police service, according to the mayor. He’s questioned how the township’s proposal could be so low but Chief Hummer said he stands behind the numbers.

Last week, the chief had his own questions.

“It’s one thing to say, we have a police department, we’re going to fund a police department. It’s another thing to have a police department when you have a huge safety net called the Lake Township Police Department,” he said.

Four township police officers went to the scene of the disturbance and three went to the Walbridge police station to locate village officers before proceeding to the disturbance. Township officers also summoned an Emergency Medical Services unit for Nathaniel Amerson.

Chief Hummer said the two village officers at the station – one ending a shift and the other going on duty - didn’t have their radios turned on.

“They (Walbridge) didn’t answer their radios. We had to take the call. They’re not saying they had technical problems. They didn’t have their radios turned on. All that being said, I’d rather work with these people, but they have to own some of their shortcomings so we can work through them together. Obviously, we’re going to be their safety net. We’ll even help them with their training.”

Mayor Kolanko on Wednesday said he has confidence in the village police department.

“To be a police officer in today's political climate is extremely difficult given the public perception of law enforcement. All officers need to work together, provide mutual aid when needed, and support their fellow officers with mutual respect - regardless of jurisdiction.

“I fail to understand the motivation behind the recent public criticism of both the Wood County Sheriff's Department dispatching and the Village of Walbridge police. Mutual aid agreements between police agencies were created to assist our law enforcement officers, not to create friction among them. Choosing to use the media as the primary outlet, ‘press releases’ for the criticism of fellow officers has the effect of eroding the public's confidence in our police officers.”

He said his administration, village council, and residents of the village appreciate the mutual aid assistance provided to the village by all agencies and will continue to reciprocate when called upon.

Village Police Chief Ken Frost has counseled the officers, the mayor said.

“I feel the village has an outstanding police department. Recently, with overwhelming community support, council voted unanimously to maintain the local Walbridge department. The village will continue to staff the police department accordingly, replacing officers when hired by other police agencies, and endeavor to improve on a daily basis,” the mayor said.

Chief Hummer said he continues to have a good working relationship with Chief Frost and he expects officers in both departments to continue to cooperate.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with the issues we’re having with (county) dispatching. Dispatch did a great job,” Chief Hummer said. “This solely has to do with the Walbridge Police Department being responsible for its citizens. And this is not being responsible.”

He said township officers are assisting on calls in the village about 5-10 times a week on average.

Since April, three members of the Walbridge department have been hired by Lake Township.



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