Thursday, July 13, 2000

Longtime officer to be chief

Toth says he'll stress directed patrolling for neighborhoods

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORTH COLLEGE HILL — A sergeant with 22 years of experience in law enforcement — the past 15 with the police department here — will take over as the new police chief in late September.

        Sgt. Paul Toth, who scored highest on promotional exams for the job, will succeed Chief John Fulmer when he retires on Sept. 29. He says he wants to continue the commitment to community-oriented policing that Chief Fulmer emphasized.

        “I'm big on proactive policing,” said Sgt. Toth, 46. “So often what happens is you wind up getting behind the curve and all you do is chase reports. I want to look at the idea of directed patrol a little more.”

        Directed patrol, he explained, expands on the idea of community-oriented policing. “It's finding where the problem spots are and directing those officers to work the problem spots,” said Sgt. Toth.

        But it involves, for in stance, more than just chasing juveniles from one corner to another. It would mean talking to them, said Sgt. Toth, discovering underlying reasons for behavior and finding alternatives.

        But an overriding concern is halting any deterioration in any of the city's neighborhoods. Sgt. Toth said it is important for the police department to stay on top of problems like drug abuse and the social ills that accompany it, like theft and burglary.

        “Things can get into a downward spiral, which increases the work of the police department,” said Sgt. Toth. “So often it's not the big crimes, it's the constant smaller crimes that people get fed up with. Everything has to come back to making this place as livable as possible, to keep that downward spiral from happening.”

        Mayor Dan Brooks said he is looking forward to working with Sgt. Toth when he becomes police chief in September.

        “Paul and I have already spoken,” said Mayor Brooks. “He and I are going to sit down. I want to hear what his vision is for the department and the city. Where I want us to go is a lot more community-oriented (policing). I think we want to make sure everybody is on the same page and going in the same direction.”

        Mayor Brooks said he was told recently by a police officer from another department that if somebody were in trouble, “Paul is the guy you'd want to have behind you.”

        Jerry Thamann, the city's safety-service director, said Sgt. Toth is familiar with the city.

        “He's very knowledgeable of our department and police work,” said Mr. Thamann. “When it comes to community-oriented policing, that's what we're looking for in a chief. He has the knowledge and we hope he continues with the leadership that Chief Fulmer has instilled in our department.”

        The department has 13 full-time and 10 part-time paid police officers.


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