Drama at Toledo City Council meeting as members choose to table vote on police vehicles

Some members accused others of backhandedly trying to “defund the police.”
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:10 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - There was a bit of a dust-up Tuesday at the scheduled City Council meeting, as a decision not to bring a matter up for a vote had some members wondering aloud whether their fellow members were trying to “defund the police.”

During the agenda review portion of the meeting, just about all members of the council spoke up about the need for new police cars. No one was against the idea, but the process by which they would be procured seems to be the issue right now.

According to the Toledo Police Department, those cars are badly needed, as they say police vehicles are driven 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. Thirty marked units from model year 2017 already have an average of 124,000 miles on them. One marked unit has 285,000 miles, while a marked wagon has 269,000 miles.

The proposed ordinance would allow the city to lease cars for the next three years at $300,000 per year. Some council members have questions about the deal, some wonder whether it’s better to purchase or lease, so rather than bringing the ordinance out of committee for a vote on the floor, a 7-5 vote kept the ordinance in committee, requiring further debate among members.

That did not sit well with some members who accused those opting not to vote on the ordinance of backhandedly defunding the police. In the wake of police brutality protests this summer, there have been nationwide calls for city leadership to cut funding to police departments and reinvest the money into programs like mental health and addiction services.

Members who voted not to remove the ordinance from committee say they are simply looking for more time and detail on the issue.

The issue is expected to come up at the next council meeting where it could get a full council vote.

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