BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — If people in the Maumee community feel safe and secure, they have good reason.
A new state ranking has listed Maumee as the safest city in Ohio.
“I’m very happy that Maumee was named safest city,” said Maumee Police Chief Dave Tullis. “Now the pressure is on to remain the safest city in Ohio.”
The website backgroundchecks.org, which tracks the criminal, financial and educational history of individuals, determined the ranking. Using FBI data, the site considered communities with a population of more than 10,000 and calculated the violent and property crime rates as well as the ratio of law enforcement officers per 1,000 residents.
With a city population of approximately 14,000, the Maumee police department logged a violent crime rate of 0.36 per 1,000, which is less than one-tenth of the national average. Overall, the city earned a safety index score of 0.98, which is also very high, according to the site.
For Tullis, those population numbers may even be slightly skewed due to the fact that Maumee’s population nearly doubles during the workweek with the number of people who work in Maumee, especially in the Arrowhead Park business district. In addition, with Maumee located near main travel arteries, including the Ohio Turnpike and I-75, coupled with the fact the city is home to multiple hotels, police officers are often tasked with maintaining the safety and security of travelers, as well.
Tullis attributes Maumee’s safety success to city officials who have taken the initiative to make it a top priority. In fact, in 2019 the city of Maumee will invest $6.69 million to operate the police division, which is 35.6 percent of the total general budget, according to city finance director Deb Cartledge. The Maumee Police Division consists of 42 sworn officers and 13 dispatchers on staff as well as an animal control officer and three administrative staff.
“Public safety is consistently one of the top priorities of community members, safe schools and thriving businesses,” Tullis said. “It is the main component in both quality of life and economic development. The Maumee Police Division has aggressively for many years adopted the community policing philosophy and community engagement is one of my top priorities.”
Training is also a top priority within the department, and many Maumee officers are not only highly trained in areas of fire arms and active shooter drills, they also often serve as training officers as well, assisting other departments and local businesses, Tullis said.
The division also provides free services to senior citizens, including regular home checks to ensure optimal safety among vulnerable populations. Programs have also been implemented within the school district to enhance safety through the D.A.R.E. or Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, Safety City and by having a school resource officer dedicated to both the middle school and high school.
The division also hosts a drug take-back program, car seat installation program and Citizens Police Academy; and it recently hosted several community events, including a community coffee and cookout, which enabled community members to meet local police officers.
“I am a firm believer in community engagement and open-door policy, with programs that endorse that,” Tullis said.
Ohio is considered a mid-size state, with crime rates that rank the state 25th-lowest in property crime and 18th-lowest in violent crime, according to the backgroundchecks.org website.
Other local municipalities that made the safest city list are Sylvania, which came in sixth; Perrysburg Township, which was ranked 13th and Tiffin, which was ranked 16th in the state.