MAHONING CO. Layoffs to end extra patrols

Over the weekend, several burglaries and thefts were reported to deputies.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Upcoming layoffs mean preventive patrolling by the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department will cease in the outlying townships, but leaders don't seem concerned.
Sheriff Randall A. Wellington said deputies will still be on hand to answer calls for service, such as those for recent burglaries and thefts.
He said budget cutbacks will eliminate extra deputies in Ellsworth, Berlin, Canfield and Green townships.
He said sporadic patrols in the city, especially on the East Side, also will stop when layoffs begin next month.
The sheriff expects to lay off roughly 60 deputies March 3.
Over the weekend, burglaries were reported in Berlin and Canfield townships. Green Township residents reported thefts from a barn and a construction site.
Wellington said the townships experience burglaries "on occasion" and often the suspect is known to the resident. Sometimes it's a relative, neighbor or acquaintance, he said.
The crimes are opportunistic, with the burglar knowing when it's a good time to enter and where valuables are kept, he said.
Thefts from construction sites continue to be a problem, Wellington said.
For example, the owner of a house under construction in the 10000 block of Salem-Youngstown Road discovered Friday that 1,500 feet of log siding worth $3,000 was taken. Also missing are joists worth $400, roofing sheets worth $400 and a framed window valued at $175.
What's being done
The sheriff said he has met with trustees several times and assured them that deputies will continue answering calls for service. He also has spoken to small groups of residents.
That was enough to soothe concerns of trustees in the rural townships, which rely on the sheriff for police protection because they don't have their own local departments.
"It isn't like we're going to be left with no protection at all," said Ivan Hoyle, a 23-year trustee in Berlin Township. "It's just going to be reduced."
Hoyle said the level of crime in rural townships is relatively low and he doesn't expect that to change.
Commissioners have cut all county budgets because revenue isn't increasing as fast as the county's expenses. Wellington has announced the layoffs as a means of keeping within his reduced budget.
"We're just going to have to live with it," Hoyle said.
Word from townships
Gerald Grace, Ellsworth Township trustee, said deputies will still be on the road serving court papers, since that's one of the sheriff's required duties under Ohio law.
"If a call comes in, I'm sure those guys will drop those papers and respond to the emergency," Grace said. "I'm not uncomfortable with it yet."
William D. Reese, Canfield Township trustee, echoed similar sentiments, noting that Wellington has assured trustees that a sheriff's outpost in Canfield will remain open, even with the budget cuts.
"We have a pretty good handle on the situation right now," he said.
Green Township residents have expressed some concerns about the reduction in deputies, said Trustee Edward J. Schaefer. But Schaefer said he doesn't expect any problems.
"Crime is not a big thing out here, and we're going to try and keep it that way," Schaefer said. "Everybody tries to watch out for everybody else."

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