Just Like Santa Claus, Dispatcher Delivers
The Blade via YellowBrix
December 25, 2009
A message that Toledo police officers look forward to came across their service radios without fail at 7:30 p.m. yesterday, just as it has on Dec. 24 for more than three decades.
Three times on every Christmas Eve for the last 35 years, Officer James “Jim” Ogle has made the announcement over police channels:
“Attention all units, attention all units: Be on the lookout for something flying in the sky, a jolly old man in a red suit spreading good cheer. The subject was last seen operating a sleigh …”
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Chief Mike Navarre said last night that police officers enjoy the Santa Watch, adding that it was always done when the channels were clear and there were no emergencies.
“They look forward to it every year. They know Jim’s there. They’re working Christmas Eve. It is reassuring to hear his voice,” Chief Navarre said.
The chief worked side by side with Officer Ogle in the communications department during the early 1980s.
“I got to know him quite well. He’s a very hard-working, dependable, conscientious person,” the chief said. “He spent the majority of his career working in communications and he really, really loves his job and loves the police department.”
He said it is possible last night would be Officer Ogle’s last Santa Watch. The near-43-year Toledo police veteran was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus this year.
However, the chief said his old friend remains optimistic.
“Maybe there will be a miracle this Christmas,” Chief Navarre said.
Officer Ogle, 69, wears Toledo police badge No. 1 as the oldest in seniority. He has worn it for 10 years, the Toledo native proudly said after making his first Christmas Eve announcement of the night at the police dispatch center at Monroe and 22nd streets.
The idea of the Christmas Eve announcement was passed down to him when he became a dispatcher in 1974, Mr. Ogle said.
The 1958 Macomb High School graduate said he decided to become a police officer after being a military policeman during the 1960s in Germany, where he was stationed with the Army.
He graduated from Toledo Police Academy in 1967.
Over the past 35 years, he had to come in on Christmas Eve several times when he was off duty to do just that announcement.
“People have called in to say they liked and enjoyed [the message],” Officer Ogle said with a shy smile. “And most of the officers look forward to it also.”