Toledo Chief of Police Duane Garvais Lawrence
The City of Toledo has hired a new Chief of Police, Duane Garvais Lawrence, and he knows the importance of community policing. Toledo has always been a special community, they have more volunteers than any other community in south Lewis County and Chief Garvais Lawrence understands how special Toledo is.
Chief Garvais Lawrence applied for the position of chief, why did he choose Toledo? Garvais Lawrence stated, "My family and I lives near the City of Toledo. Our girls NorthStar, Dolly and Unity attended the schools there. We also developed positive working relations with former chief of police John Brockmueller, Sam Patrick and Mayor Steve Dobosh. The process was lengthy with the new laws in place regarding law enforcement. Once the process was completed, I was blessed and selected to serve and protect the City of Toledo, citizens, elders, youth."
Many in law enforcement have a previous history in the military, Chief Garvais Lawrence is no exception, his military career gave him the skills needed to go into law enforcement. He stated, "Serving in the United States Marine Corps, 2nd Battalion 5th Marines taught the value of discipline, structure, chain of command and the idea of serving a purpose greater than self. In the United States Marines boot camp, individual perception and values are broken down and concepts such as teamwork, communication, honor, integrity, the greater good of the whole are instilled. These concepts were invaluable and helped me complete difficult military courses such as Army Airborne School (Jump School), Radio Operators School, Police Chasers School, and Assault Climbers School. This value system and training translate into public service as a law enforcement officer. This in turn is another tool in the modern day law enforcement tool box."
Community Policing is a way of making the community aware of law enforcement and helping before problems start. Chief Garvais Lawrence has already started his community policing by attending many community events, introducing himself to the community and so much more. He continued, "Community policing is a very important concept in modern day law enforcement. At the very core of law enforcement there should be the idea of 'serving and protecting' what does that mean to the citizens of Toledo and local businesses? Community oriented policing means but is not limited to, engaging with all citizens of Toledo, making consistent efforts to attend community meetings such as the Lion's club, Senior Citizens center, social events, making appearances in the local elementary, middle and high schools, sending out homeowners and business community survey, making appearances in the local churches, interaction with the youth, patrolling the housing area and local business areas etcetera. All of these concepts show that community police officers and law enforcement are not just about pulling people over and issuing citations or arresting people, those interactions are really a small part of what law enforcement actually does."
One of the first business steps Chief Garvais Lawrence took was preparing a survey for the citizens and businesses to complete. This will assist him as he moves forward in his position. Chief Garvais Lawrence stated, "There are two surveys that have been released to the public. These are designed for homeowners and local business owners to provide the Police Department with real time information and data on what they individually and collectively see as problems. We also are planning to create a community block watch program to help in crime deterrent." The surveys are available at city hall
It is important when any new chief of police begins to have goals for their community and policing. Chief Garvais Lawrence has set the following goals for the Toledo Police Department.
- Ally in Murdered and Missing Indigenous women children and men also known as "MMIW"
- Uphold the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights for every citizen
- Provide the citizens of Toledo with a police program that meets their current needs and to plan both short term and long-term staffing needs to meet future growth.
- Continue building upon positive partnerships, professional relationships, with Winlock, Napavine, and Lewis county administrations
- Decrease in crimes, through community policing, education, and partnerships
- Continued positive working relationships with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Tribal Government, Council members and Canoe family.
Mayor Dobosh has been watching Chief Garvais Lawrence and stated, "We are excited to have hired Chief Garvais Lawrence. Chief Garvais Lawrence has continued the legacy of community policing and involvement in our community. He has shown that he is here for our citizens and for our community. If you have not had a chance to meet Chief Garvais Lawrence, please do."
Chief Garvais Lawrence understands how the policing has been in Toledo, he stated, "Our administration will build upon and further the legacy of the City of Toledo's past Chiefs of police including but not limited to Chief Morey, Chief Brockmueller and Chief Patrick honoring the rich culture traditions of the City of Toledo, maintaining open lines of communication and serving and protecting while maintaining law and order. I am blessed and appreciate the trust of Mayor Steve Dobosh and the Toledo City Council in managing and leading the Toledo Police Department in 2023 and beyond."