Best Practices

Mayor Carleton S. Finkbeiner

School Officers

When Carleton S. Finkbeiner took office in January 1994 as the city's first "strong mayor" in 60 years, he took the initiative to implement the School Officer program with the assistance of the Police Chief Gerald Galvin. The Mayor believes that combating violence in the school system with school officers will improve the quality of education by promoting a safe environment for learning. The schools were not receptive to the idea in the beginning, but the program has since become a staple of the school systems.

The mission of the program is to enhance the school environment and academic experience for all Toledo students by working in partnership with school officials, parents and students. This is accomplished by reducing the instances of criminal activity and public nuisance through consistent proactive and reactive procedures; by facilitating the exchange of information between the school systems and various police sections; by effectively handling and investigating school-related incidents; by coordinating positive programs with school officials; and by obtaining and disseminating relevant information and intelligence concerning gang involvement and other illegal activity involving students.

The School Officer program places one full-time uniformed police officer in every junior high and public high school during the school year. The officers are responsible for providing law enforcement activities in and around their assigned schools, affecting approximately 17,000 students. Each officer promotes community relations, serves as an expert in the law, and provides a sense of security that had previously been missing.

This unique program required the commitment from the Toledo Police Department to take 18 officers from the street crews and focus their time in the schools. The school officer philosophy provides for more control of the crime, drug and gang activity in the schools and campuses. It is the best opportunity to use an equal amount of prevention and enforcement to combat crime. As police officers, they represent authority and consequence. As school officials, they support educational goals and efforts. And as friends of the students and faculty, they are willing to serve as role models. In the summer, the officers stay within their assigned school's community and participate in summer programs at parks, community centers and various summer day camps. This allows them to stay with "their kids" year-round and build on the sense of trust and respect.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (419) 245-1001


The need for mentoring and role models is very evident in the school system today. Mayor Finkbeiner, in collaboration with the Partners in Education Program, developed the Adopt-a-School program with numerous city departments.

Ten departments adopted 14 elementary and junior schools -- with much enthusiasm shown by city employees. Some departments have developed joint planning committees composed of city employees and school staff to identify project areas, plan events and evaluate results. These committees meet monthly during the school year.

It is always easiest to give money for books, uniforms and events. Not only do city employees give money, but they give their time. Led by Mayor Finkbeiner, city employees, more often than not, have devoted their time for "a more personal touch."

Various events have taken place during the school year which hopefully will leave positive impressions on these children:

  • A benefit dinner was held to raise money for a school library, with all time being donated;

  • Transportation has been donated for tours of the library, the courthouse, the Government Center, the Mayor's Office, and the Toledo Police Mounted Horse Patrol stable;

  • Holiday parties have been hosted by city employees;

  • Tutoring on various subjects and State Proficiency Test Preparation has been provided;

  • Storybook reading for the elementary students -- the Mayor's favorite event -- has been provided;

  • Assistance has been provided at open houses and sporting events.

These are only a few of the ways city employees devote their time to helping Toledo's children. Appreciation and gratitude from the students has been overwhelming. This has become a program that will continue year after year. By providing role models and the much-needed resource of volunteer time, the Mayor hopes to improve the relevance of an education to Toledo's students and help them to eventually become productive citizens.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (419) 245-1001

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

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