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By Dan Smith
Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 7:02 PM EST

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Greg Mahlman has over 3 decades of law enforcement experience under his belt, and now dons the familiar green shoulder patch of Metroparks Toledo as their lead patrol ranger.

“I was a police officer in Toledo for over 30 years, retired in August 2018,” Mahlman explains. “Later in the year, I was called by Deputy Chief Ranger Navarre, and he asked if I was interested in a job in the parks… and I said, ‘I would love to!’ I’m an outdoors kind of guy, so getting to work in the parks in the law enforcement field… what a great job.”
Mahlman’s job covers every park in the system, and he often serves as a mentor for newer recruits: “As the lead patrol ranger, I’m there as a helping hand to all the other rangers wherever I’m needed — when they need assistance with questions or how-to’s sometimes on the law enforcement part of the job.”

He says a ranger’s greatest tool is communication — and for newer officers, that experience comes quickly, especially once they recognize more frequent visitors. “We’re in Swan Creek today, and there are regular walkers — as a ranger, you get to know them by name. That’s classic community policing. They take pride in their own park, and they’re more likely to tell you whether there’s something amiss.”

Mahlman reminds that crime can occur anywhere, including the Metroparks — but adds they’re a safe place to begin with, even more so thanks to those on patrol.

“We’ve only had 4 thefts from autos this entire year in the Metroparks system,” Mahlman recalls, “and the detective told me just yesterday that in all 4 cases, there have been charges filed against the person responsible.”

All in a day’s work to keep Toledo’s greenspace safe.