Liberty trustees appoint new police chief

By Shelby Schroeder

Township officials say Liberty’s new police chief is a good fit.

LIBERTY — Township trustees have unanimously named Richard Tisone police chief.

Trustee Jodi Stoyak said Tisone’s performance, particularly during scrutiny after a resident’s death and the stepping down of former Chief Anthony Slifka, show he’s more capable than other applicants for the position.

“Taking over after the tragedy, he’s far exceeded ... in the duties of police chief,” Stoyak said.

On April 28, Mary Rush, 87, died of injuries sustained while trying to regain access to her home. In June, when Slifka retired amid criticism that police had not sufficiently investigated a call that the dying woman could be heard outside the residence, Tisone took over as acting chief.

The 23-year police veteran and former captain received a one-year contract from the township Monday with a salary of $76,453.88

Administrator Patrick Ungaro said the longevity of Tisone’s career in Liberty made him the ideal candidate.

“We’ve benefited from his work the entire time he’s been here,” Ungaro said. “We’re fortunate enough to have a police chief from in-house — that’s a big plus.”

“It’s so important to understand the culture and the ins-and-outs of Liberty,” the administrator said. “He lives here, so he knows.”

Ungaro said he also believes Tisone is prepared to handle the economic growth anticipated in Liberty.

“We’re right on track to the renaissance here,” he said, noting the addition of the Wal-Mart on Belmont Avenue, and the multimillion-dollar sewer line along state Route 193, which he said will “bring 100 acres of development to the area.”

As for the deficiencies reported subsequent to Rush’s death by the Public Safety Training and Research Center at Kent State University, both Stoyak and Ungaro said they’ve seen Tisone take charge to correct the department’s errors.

Stoyak said that while Tisone has reduced the department’s fleet by nine patrol vehicles, he’s boosted efficiency by training officers as supervisors and instituting performance evaluations. Ungaro said the creation of a reserve of part-time officers is another decision by Tisone that’s considered “bold” but positive for the township.

About six former officers and police chiefs from the Youngstown area applied for the position, but because of Tisone’s background, “It wasn’t even close,” Ungaro said.

“We believe he can best face the challenges that come with protecting the community,” Stoyak said on behalf of the other trustees.

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