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PS419: TPS students have new path to public safety jobs

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 10:02 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A new push is on to develop new Toledo Fire and Police recruits from right here at home. That study will begin while those young people are in high school.

The best way to know the city is to grow up in it. That’s the kind of knowledge that could be invaluable to first responders.

One tool no police department can actually purchase is an intimate knowledge of the people and the neighborhoods in which officers patrol.

“I can’t understate how important it is for people who grow up in a community to stay around and then serve,” said Toledo Police Chief George Kral.

For Chief Kral that may happen more often thanks to a new program called PS419. it’s public safety curriculum in Toledo Public Schools that transitions credits to Owens Community College and its public safety programs. Those students could then take the Toledo Fire and Police exams for the academies.

“I lose a lot of kids from TPS from that 18-21 age range. They get a job, they go elsewhere. This way if we can get them fired up about being a police officer, we can keep them here,” said Kral.

“We’re a community service agency. if we can’t relate to the people, you either have to have the ability to learn how to relate and or bring that to the table when you come,” said Toledo Fire Brian Byrd.

Chief Byrd says his firefighters can better connect with people if those firefighters have walked the same streets, know the same families and neighborhoods.

“They need to know we can relate to their circumstances and that gives them that connection,” said Byrd.

TPS is still promoting the program and recruiting kids. Estimates are that about 40 kids could be in the program at any one time. That’s 40 more Toledoans eventually serving Toledoans.

“It’ll make their job much easier because this is the town they grew up in. They’re passionate about it. They love Toledo. They stuck around and now they’re going to protect everyone who lives here,” said Chief Kral.

In addition to the course work all these students will have a mentor from the Police or Fire departments. That mentor would be giving them advice, guidance or just answering questions sticking with those kids if they decide public safety is for them.

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