The mission of the Defiance Police Department is to maintain public trust by providing Quality Services in Partnership with our Community.
We hope that you find our website informative and helpful. The Defiance Police Department is comprised of officers who strive to maintain a high degree of professionalism and service to the community on a daily basis. We pride ourselves in working closely with the community by keeping communication open. Our doors are always open and we are here to help so stop in anytime. Our goal is to maintain our small town atmosphere and keep Defiance a great place to live.
We will proudly remain focused on our community’s needs and committed to excellence by demonstration of the following core values:
We hold ourselves accountable to the highest level of honesty and ethical conduct at all times.
We will serve our community through diligent enforcement of the law to promote safety and welfare of our citizens.
We hold ourselves to the highest standards through development of highly trained, knowledgeable and motivated employees.
We will foster teamwork with our community through relationships designed to promote education, communication, and cooperation between the citizens and members of our department.
Composed by members of the Defiance Police Department, 2002.
Dial 911 For Emergencies Only!
- Serious medical problems (i.e. chest pain, seizures, bleeding)
- Any type of fire
- Life threatening situations
- Any crimes in progress
All other situations are considered a non-emergency. Dial the agency’s listed telephone number (784-5050) for non-emergencies. Non-emergency incidents include those not in progress; break-ins to vehicles, property theft or vandalism. The non-emergency number should also be used for non-injury auto accidents.
Do Not Program 911 into your Speed Dial
Programming the number invites accidental dialing. This needlessly burdens the dispatchers with non-emergency calls.
If 911 is dialed in error, do not hang up!
Stay on the telephone and explain to the dispatcher that you dialed in error and there is no emergency. This allows the dispatcher and officers to downgrade the call priority. Expect an officer to respond to verify that there is no problem. Please meet them at the door or wherever you made the call from, to answer any questions they will have.
In case of an emergency, be brief and specific
“I’m reporting a car fire” or “I’m reporting a shoplifter” are examples of brief and specific explanations. Stay on the phone with the dispatcher until you are instructed to hang up. The dispatcher may keep you on the line until emergency personnel arrives to obtain further information or ask additional questions.
Let the dispatcher ask questions
Dispatchers have been trained to ask pertinent questions that will prioritize the incident, locate the area, and send out the appropriate assistance. If you are in a position that does not allow you to explain the situation with full answers (suspect is nearby), stay on the phone and the dispatcher will ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no. If the situation requires you to leave the phone, put it down but do not disconnect the call.
The Neighborhood Watch Program allows for citizens to take an active part in the safety of their neighborhoods. It allows neighbors to become better acquainted with each other and with Law Enforcement Officers.
The program lets neighbors take ownership by watching out for each other and their property. The Police Department will be glad to assist in forming a Neighborhood Watch in your neighborhood.
Should you wish to look into a Neighborhood Watch, please contact the Community Relations Officer, Chief Shafer, at 784-5050 or via email and he will be glad to help you.
National Child Safety Council
The Defiance Police Department works with the National Child Safety Council to bring programs to local schools and distribute safety information to parents and youths.
Vehicle Lockout Assistance
In times when some departments are stopping the practice of helping citizens who have inadvertently locked their keys in their vehicles, the Defiance Police Department is proud to continue this practice. The citizens will have to sign a liability card holding the Defiance Police Department blameless in case of damage to the lock mechanism when unlocking the door.
The Defiance Police Department will give any group or organization a tour of our department allowing them to see our facility. Should you desire to tour the department, please contact Chief Todd Shafer at 419.784.5050 or email him to set up a date and time for your tour.
The officers of the Defiance Police will be more than happy to come to your home or business and make some recommendations about the security of your home or business. We will look at such things as door locks, window locks, and other security measures. If you desire to have an officer look at your home or business, please contact the Defiance Police Department at 419.784.5050.
Officers of the Defiance Police Department will speak to any group or organization about topics pertinent to law enforcement and our police department. Should you wish to have an Officer from the Department come and speak, please contact Chief Todd Shafer at 419.784.5050 or email.
Vacation House Checks
The Defiance Police Department will gladly watch your home while you are out of town on vacation. Once a week, the officers will physically walk your residence and check for problems while you are gone. The following information is needed by the Department:
- Telephone Number
- Vacation Departure Date
- Vacation Return Date
- Name, Address and Phone Number of Emergency Contact
- Whether you will turn out all lights or leave lights on.
For more vacation safety tips, please refer to the Safety Tips sidebar section.
In an emergency, home addresses must be clearly visible! Remember, If we can’t find you, we can’t help you!
In an emergency every second counts! Make sure your address numbers are clearly visible for the Fire and Police Departments to see. Install a light above your numbers. Use large, plain numbers, not hard to read lettering. Use contrasting colors, not ones that blend into the color of your house. Remember, whether you live in the city or country, you should identify your property clearly.
The Defiance Fire Department currently sells green address number signs at the central station. You may call 419-782-2771 to order a sign. The signs can usually be picked up the same day.
Behaviors of an Aggressive Driver
- Running stop signs and red lights
- Speeding, tailgating and weaving between lanes
- Passing on the right of a vehicle
- Making inappropriate hand and facial gestures
- Screaming, honking the horn and flashing headlights
What To Do When Confronted by an Aggressive Driver
- Make every attempt to safely move out of the aggressive driver’s way
- Do not challenge an aggressive driver by speeding up or attempting to “hold your own” in the travel lane.
- Always wear your seat belt – not only will it hold you in your seat and behind the wheel in case you need to make an abrupt driving maneuver; it will help protect you in a crash.
- Avoid eye contact with the aggressive driver.
- Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
- Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, license number, location, and if possible, direction of travel.
- If you have a cellular phone and can use it while driving safely, call the police. Many have special numbers such as 9-1-1 or #-7-7.
- If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash further down the road, stop at a safe distance from the crash scene, wait for the police to arrive, and report the driving behavior that you witnessed.
Did You Know? The majority of “aggressive drivers” are between the ages of 18 and 26.
Prevent Auto Theft
- When you park your car, close the windows, lock the doors and take the key with you.
- If you must leave a key with a parking attendant, leave only your vehicle’s ignition key.
- Install and use anti-theft devices, whether an alarm or a protective device like a club. Be sure to activate the device every time you leave your vehicle.
- Park only in well-lighted areas near other vehicles.
- Keep valuables out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk.
- Don’t hide a spare key in a magnetic key box; thieves know all the hiding places.
- At home, if possible, put your car away in a locked garage, or at least parked in the driveway.
- If you have two cars and one of them is easy to break into, then park it in your driveway so it’s blocked by the other car.
- When you park your car, turn the front wheels to the left or right and put the emergency brake on. This locks the wheels, making it difficult for a thief to tow your car.
Information and Safety for Bicycles
The Do’s and Dont’s of Bicycle Safety
- Do wear a helmet with a strong buckle and strap.
- Do practice bike steering and balance.
- Do lock up your bike whenever you leave it and write down the serial number.
- Do wear bright colors so drivers can see you both crossing the street.
- Do stop, look both left and right and listen before crossing the street.
- Do pay attention to all road signs which come in many different colors and shapes. You must obey them just like cars. Your parents can help you learn what each sign means.
- Do ride on the right side of traffic near the edge of the road making sure you keep an eye on all cars, trucks, and vans. Facing traffic is totally wrong.
- Do check your bike often for loose parts making sure nothing is broken or falling apart.
- Do look all around you before you turn and use hand signals warning drivers of what you are doing. Ask your parents to teach you the proper hand signals when riding your bike.
- Do purchase a bicycle license from the Defiance Police Department. We will need the brand name, model, serial number, and size of your bicycle. This will help the Police Department if your bicycle is ever stolen.
- Don’t buy a bicycle that’s too tall. Be sure you can sit on the seat and your feet touch the street.
- Don’t play games on your bike in the street.
- Don’t ride two abreast, always ride in a single file.
Remember, safety first and you will have a fun summer ahead of you. Bikes are fun and good exercise too!
Bicycle Licensing Information
Every bicycle in the City of Defiance shall have a bicycle license to be purchased at the Defiance Police Department for $3 which shall be good for a three-year period. However, if the first year of the licensing period has expired the fee shall be $1.
Information needed for an application for a bicycle license:
- Owner Name
- Owner Address
- Make and Model of Bicycle
- Serial Number of Bicycle
City Ordinance 373.13 Attachment of License
License plate shall be attached to rear mud flap or the frame to be visible from the rear.
City Ordinance 373.14 Sale; Transfer of Bicycle License
Within five days from the sale or transfer, the license shall be removed and surrendered to the Police Department.
Did You Know?
Helmets decrease the risk of head injury by 85% (Rivara, 1997)
Only 18% of cyclist wear a helmet in the US. (Rodgers, 1995)
How to Safeguard Your Children
• Teach them to never talk to strangers.
• Teach them never to ride their bikes along; always ride with a buddy and always wear a helmet.
• Teach them to never play in the street.
• Teach them to always look both ways and watch for cars before entering or crossing the street.
• Establish neighborhood boundaries in which they may play. Teach them to never open the door to a stranger when alone.
• Teach them that, when answering the telephone, never give out any personal information or let the person who calls know if they are alone.
• Teach them to be sure to let their parents know exactly where they will be and or how long, and to always call and let them know if they decide to go somewhere else.
• If they should see a gun, teach them to stop, don’t touch, and call an adult.
• Teach them to never get into a car with someone they don’t know.
• If they feel threatened, teach them to run away as fast as they can.
• Develop a secret password that must be used if someone unfamiliar is to pick them up form school or play.
• If they come home and something about their house doesn’t look right, teach them to go immediately to a neighbor’s for help.
Commercial Burglary Prevention
- Install lighting at the front and back as well as near any side doors of your business.
- Try to eliminate as many shadows as possible.
- Use only solid core doors. Be sure the door frames cannot easily be jimmied.
- Use deadbolts and be sure to change locks every time an employee with access to them leaves.
- Install burglar-resistant glass or use wire mesh or iron bars over all glass.
- Arrange merchandise so that a passerby can see into the store. Keep your expensive merchandise away from the windows, toward the center of the store.
- Keep front windows free from posters etc. which can prevent a burglar inside from being seen by a passerby.
- Install and use a drop safe. Limit the amount of cash in the register and post signs indicating that a drop safe is used and register only has limited cash.
- Check ventilation system to ensure it can not be used to gain entry.
In owning a firearm, you must undertake full-time responsibility for your firearm’s safety and security. You must protect yourself and all others against injury from the firearm. In particular, you must secure firearms form children or those who act like children.
Many safety features are incorporated in firearms. For your safety and safety of others, do not rely on mechanical features alone. Only your safe gun-handling habits will ensure the safe use of your firearm. This is your responsibility. Accidents do not just happen. Accidents are the result of violating the rules of safe gun handling and common sense. Insure the safe use of firearms. Follow these essential safety instructions and warnings.
Preparation for Firing
• Wear safety glasses and ear protection whether indoors or out.
• Select a place to shoot which has a safe backstop, is free from obstructions and water surfaces which cause ricochets.
• Always be aware of other people so that persons cannot accidentally walk into the line of fire.
• Position the shooter and all others so that they are not within an area where they may be struck by ejected cases.
• Keep fingers and other parts of your body away from the muzzle.
• When firing on a target range, be alert and follow the range officer’s commands.
• Before anyone is allowed forward of the firing position, be sure that all cylinders and actions of firearms are open, that chambers are clear of cartridges, magazines are removed, and that firearms are pointing in a safe direction.
• Never use alcoholic beverages or other drugs before or during shooting.
• Be alert at all times. Never shoot if you are tired, cold or impaired in any way.
• Never cross obstacles such as fences or streams with a loaded firearm.
• If you are carrying a loaded firearm in the field, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
Basic Safety Rules
• Never point a firearm at anyone or anything you do not intend to shoot.
• Before handling any firearm, understand its operation.
• Always have your firearm pointed in a safe direction.
• Keep your firearm unloaded when not in use.
• Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
• Never pass your firearm to another person until the cylinder or action is open and you visually check that it is unloaded.
• Place your finger inside the trigger guard only when you are ready to fire.
• If you must carry a loaded firearm always carry it with the muzzle pointing in a safe direction.
• Never carry or store firearms with the hammer in the cocked position.
• Do not allow a firearm to be used by individuals who do not understand its safe operation and the rules of safe gun-handling.
• Be sure all accessories, such as holsters and grips, are compatible with the firearm and that the accessories do not interfere with safe operation.
• When transporting your firearm, be sure your firearm is unloaded and that the cylinder or action is open.
• Store your firearm unloaded. Safe and secure storage is one of your most important responsibilities.
• Store your unloaded firearm and ammunition separately and in places inaccessible to children and unauthorized persons.
- Invest in solid doors and good quality locks on doors and windows. This includes on all sliding glass doors as well. Make it not only difficult but also time consuming for a burglar to gain entry.
- Whenever you go outside, lock the door and take the key with you, even if you are just stepping next door or out mowing the backyard.
- Don’t put valuables where they can be seen from the window, especially items that can be easily carried.
- Be sure your garage door can be secured. Do not leave it open when you are away, an empty garage broadcasts your absence.
- When you aren’t home, set a timer set to turn interior lights on and off at varying intervals as though your home was still occupied.
- Don’t keep large amounts of cash or really valuable jewelry around the house.
- If someone comes to your door asking to sue the telephone, make the call yourself. Don’t invite them in.
- Don’t hide a spare key under the doormat or under a flower pot. Thieves know all the good hiding places.
- Plant thorny bushes under all windows. Trim back any tress or shrubs near doors and windows to eliminate hiding places for would-be thieves.
- Invest in a good security system along with motion sensor lights installed out of reach.
- Don’t leave ladders outside. Keep any tools that could be used to break in your home safely locked away in a garage or shed.
- Get a barking dog or “Beware of Dog” sign. If you own a dog and go out of town, have someone come in and care for your dog in your home.
- Always double check doors at night and lock all windows.
- Engrave all valuables such as stereos, microwaves, video cameras, with your driver’s license number. Videotape the contents of your home. Keep the video and the list of all valuables in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
A program implemented by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to help victims recover from identity theft. The program allows victims to obtain identification that will prove to creditors and other law enforcement agencies that their identity was stolen.
If you have been a victim of identity theft and would like more information about this program please contact the police department at 419.784.5050.
There are plenty of differences when it comes to motorcycles and other vehicles. Let’s briefly look at a few of the major ones.
1. Size: It all starts here with 2,500 pounds for an average passenger car vs. 250-900 pounds for a street bike. Add the dimensions of a commercial van or fully-loaded truck, and there is no doubt which vehicle is massively dwarfed by the other. Size is the major reason it is often difficult to see a motorcycle in traffic.
2. Vulnerability: It is easy to figure. Weight + Size + The Lack of a Protective Passenger Compartment = Vulnerability.
3. Maneuverability: What motorcycles lack in pure size they make up for in ease and quickness of maneuverability.
What to Watch For…
We’re all taught as automobile drivers to stop for trains, watch for children crossing the street and use our lights at night. These are motoring basics. However, there are some unique traffic hazards when sharing the roads with motorcyclists that prompt a need for more know-how than just the basics.
• blind spots
• passing and being passed
• road conditions and surface hazards
• cracks and holes
• railroad tracks
The Basics for Congenial Co-Existence
It’s a fact of modern motoring that motorists and motorcyclists are certain to be sharing the roads in the future, more not less. Both have a right to use the roadways; both have the responsibility to make sure every driving experience is equally safe for each other.
• Expect to see Motorcycles!
• Be prepared to give motorcyclists plenty of space and time to maneuver; they will usually go around a hazard rather than over or through it.
• Expect motorcyclists to move around in their lane. While a motorcycle only occupies approximately 4′ to 12′ of lane, they will use the entire lane as traffic situations and the environment change.
• Give the motorcyclist the full lane when passing.
• Don’t speed up when being passed by a motorcycle.
• Check over your shoulder whenever moving sideways to insure a motorcycle is not in your blind spot.
• Keep a safe two-second following sentence. -Pick a fixed object on or next to the road (a sign, tree or road marking). -As the motorcycle passes the object, begin counting “one thousand one, one thousand two”.
• You should reach the object after you count “one thousand two.” At night, in bad weather, or whenever road conditions are poor, increase the following distance to four seconds or more.
Watch out for these common crash situations:
A Message for Parents of Preschool Children….
Here are some facts your should know:
• Most preschoolers are injured near their home or on their own street.
• Most crashes involving preschool children happen between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
• Most crashes involving preschoolers occur in fair and warm weather.
• Twice as many preschool boys are injured than preschool girls.
This is How You Can Prevent These Tragedies
• Supervise preschoolers at all times. Preschoolers should NOT be allowed to cross the street alone. Teach them who can help them cross the street safely.
• Teach by explaining. Explain to your child the safe way to cross a street. Say: “When I cross a street, I always stop at the curb. I look for cars. I look left for any traffic coming, and then I look right for traffic coming that way. Then I look left again. When it is clear, I cross the street and keep looking left and right.
• Teach by example. When you cross a street with your child, always: -Stop at the curb. -Look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT for traffic in all directions. -Cross when it is clear. -Keep looking for cars as you cross.
• Encourage your child. As you both safely cross the street together, praise your child for copying your safe actions or words. Practice what you teach at ALL times.
A Message for Parents of Elementary School Children….
Below are some common myths that children believe about being a pedestrian. Make sure your child knows the facts.
Myth: A green light means that it is safe to cross.
Fact: A green light means that you may stop and search for cars. Before you step off the curb, look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT, and if it is safe to do so, cross and keep looking left and right as you do so. Be alert for vehicles making a right turn on red.
Myth: You are safe in a crosswalk.
Fact: You may cross at a crosswalk, but before you do, you must stop at the curb. Look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT for cars. When it is clear, cross and keep looking left and right.
Myth: If you see the driver, the driver sees you.
Fact: The driver may not see you. Make certain the driver see you and stops before you cross in front of the car. Try to make eye contact with the driver.
Myth: The driver will stop if you are in a crosswalk or at a green light.
Fact: The driver may not see you. The driver’s view may be blocked. The driver may run a traffic light illegally. The driver may turn without looking for pedestrians.
Myth: Wearing white at night makes you visible to drivers.
Fact: Even if you and your child wear white clothes, drivers will have a difficult time seeing you at night. Carry a flashlight. Wear reflective clothing. Walk facing traffic.
Remember, when crossing a street your child should always:
• Stop at the edge of parked cars, the curb, or other vehicles.
• Look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT for moving cars.
• Cross when clear, and keep looking left and right.
• Walk, not run or dart, into the street.
• Look for signs that a car is about to move (rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound of motor, wheels turning).
• Walk alertly.
How to Protect Yourself While Walking at Night
• Avoid walking or running alone at night. Instead, go walking or jogging with a friend.
• Don’t use headphones while walking, driving or jogging.
• Always walk in well-lighted areas.
• Avoid the use of short cuts.
• After dark, keep away from large bushes or doorways where someone could be lurking.
• Always stay near the curb.
• If someone in a vehicle stops and asks directions, answer from a distance. Do not approach the vehicle.
• If followed, go immediately to an area with lights and people. If needed, turn around and walk in the opposite direction, your follower will also have to reverse directions.
• Do not display cash openly, especially leaving an ATM.
• Strive to make our home look a lived in as possible while you’re away.
• Don’t broadcast your plans but do let your neighbors and local law enforcement know.
• Give a spare key to your neighbors and give them an emergency telephone number to reach you.
• Arrange to have our mail and newspaper either stopped or picked up daily.
• Have someone mow your yard or rake the leaves so your house looks lived in.
• Use automatic timers on a radio and lights at different intervals to hide the fact you aren’t home.
• Turn down the ringer on the telephone. An unanswered telephone is a dead give away.
• Be sure you don’t announce your absence on your answering machine message.
• Leave your blinds like you normally would if you were home. Only close them all the way if that is what you would normally do.
• Be sure to close and lock the garage as well as any storage sheds, gates, etc.
• Engrave all your valuables with your driver’s license number. If possible videotape the contents of your home. Be sure to keep the video and the list of valuables in a safety deposit box.
• Ask your neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. If you are leaving a vehicle parked outside, have a neighbor move it periodically so it looks as though you are home.
• Be sure someone knows your itinerary and your estimated time of arrival and return.
For local police services, please see Police Services on the Police page.
Did you know that every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train? Our department/agency supports an annual effort to keep our communities and citizens safe around railroad tracks and trains.
September 21-27 is Rail Safety Week in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. To mark the event, we support “Operation Clear Track,” the largest single railroad safety program in the country, hosted by Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) and Operation Lifesaver Inc. (www.oli.org).
Due to COVID-19 we will not be holding in-person rail safety activities. Instead, we invite you to join our virtual “Operation Clear Track” effort to share this critical safety message. We are sharing safety videos, social media posts, and other materials reminding our citizens about the dangers of trespassing on railroad property and failing to obey the laws at railroad crossings. Please share them online with your friends and family.
Without question, the pandemic has seriously impacted our personal and professional lives. However, railroad-related deaths and injuries continue to occur in our communities. We appreciate your help in spreading the word, to prevent these incidents from ever impacting our friends and loved ones. More information on Rail Safety Week is available at oli.org/rsw.
Thank you for caring, and please stay safe everyone.