TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs is taking a stand against the city's violence. He says more officers are on the streets to put an end to it.
Chief Derrick Diggs has several teams of detectives working right now to find who's responsible for the recent shootings, especially the two murders. He has a plan to quiet the violence, and it is a plan a reformed gang member is hoping will work.
After ten years as a Crip, Paul Parker says he left the lifestyle last year and is a changed man. However, he says the last two days prove there are many others who haven't been able to do the same.
"They don't want that for their kids, they don't want that for their nieces and nephews, but they don't know how to come up out of that lifestyle themselves. So I am challenging them to be leaders within themselves, lead their kids and their nieces and nephews," Parker said.
Chief Diggs says at least some of the recent shootings have been gang related, so he has launched a zero tolerance crackdown on gangs, putting additional officers on the street. He is even pulling some off of special assignments, and placing them in known gang areas.
"They all have served time in jail, have been arrested, and in many cases some of these people have been shot several times. They have been arrested numerous times. These are not random violent acts," Diggs said.
The chief says he will soon have another tool to fight the violence. The real time crime center being built inside the safety building downtown could be ready for staffing within a week. That is where images from surveillance cameras will be monitored to catch crimes happening in high-crime areas, and get the people responsible. The cameras still have to be installed.
The chief also says his Community Initiative to Reduce Violence- T-CIRV- has been working since it began in April.
"We didn't have our first gang related homicide until 8 weeks later. Usually in a program like this you can go maybe three weeks at the most without having a gang related homicide. We went 8 weeks," Diggs explained.
Meanwhile, Paul Parker is planning a march down Detroit Avenue. It will be a demonstration to show kids that the gang life is not for them.
"It's time to give up the gangs you know, work out the differences between each other and come together," Parker said.
The march will be like the one Parker held last August. It starts at 4 p.m. at Central Avenue and Detroit Avenue on July 1.
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