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Police back on the streets of downtown Youngstown

Published: Thu, October 6, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.


Lisa Reali, owner of William Leonard’s barber and beauty shop, waves at patrolman Michael Cox as he walks his downtown beat. The Youngstown Police Department began walking the daytime downtown beat last week.


Youngstown patrolman Michael Cox said most people are glad to see uniformed officers walking the streets of downtown during the day.

By John W. Goodwin Jr. and Ashley Luthern



City patrolman Michael Cox is walking the street for the first time in years — and most people downtown are happy to see him.

Cox, a 12-year department veteran, is part of the new daytime downtown beat, walking the streets and chatting with business owners.

“People are excited to see us,” he said.

One of those people is Lisa Reali, owner of William Leonard’s barber and beauty shop on the corner of

Federal and Phelps Streets.

During the three years she’s had the shop downtown, she said she’s had to contend with passers-by shouting insults, open container violations and public urination.

“The police do have their hands full” with other parts of the city, Reali said. “We felt bad reporting minor issues.”

Now that officers such as Cox are available during the day, Reali said those minor problems have dwindled.

“We need [officers] to be active,” she said, adding “I think the program’s amazing.”

A uniformed Youngstown police officer will be downtown between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Police Chief Rod Foley.

“There is a lot of foot-traffic down here, and we want to make sure people feel safe out there. People need to feel safe walking to their cars and being down here,” he said.

“Downtown is notoriously safe, but the perception is that if you are in Youngstown it is unsafe.”

Foley said additional patrol units are already stationed downtown in the evenings and on weekends so the foot patrol officer is not needed at those times.

He also said the officer working the downtown foot patrol is required to do more than just walk the streets. The officer must make contact with at least one business owner or downtown patron every hour.

Regular foot patrols, the chief said, have always been something the department has tried to use, but it has been cost prohibitive because officers assigned to foot patrol were working on overtime.

“It is hard to staff this. The previous chief [Jimmy Hughes] did it before but with the shortage in staff, it was costing us overtime. It was costing about $1,000 a day,” he said.

Foley said he has eliminated the use of overtime to fund the foot patrol by offering compensatory time to work the foot patrol.

He said officers working the detail are offered comp time, and he can control when that time is used.

The department, contractually, is only required to

allow one person comp time per shift and only if is not a hardship on staffing.

Foley said there is no shortage of officers signing up to work the downtown foot patrol and that, in conjunction with downtown patrol units, helps decrease response times.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Just another reason to support SB5 Issue 2 with your YES vote.

Think how many more police officers would be available because of the new funds if SB5 passes and the YPD officers have to pay their fair share for healthcare and pensions. Maybe they would be patrolling beyond the 10AM - 8PM time period too making downtown even safer all day long.

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Our friends in the subculture have been patroling the beat in the safe downtown Youngstown for years . What will their status be now ? Can they still solicit benefits ?

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3NoBS(2390 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

UF - you're in dreamland. If anything, passing Issue 2 will result in downtown being even less safe. The cops we have now will leave for places where they are still appreciated, and where they are paid a decent wage. That whole line about "people will be lined up around the block for those jobs" just won't hold true when "those jobs" pay minimum wage and no benefits.

I wonder how long this "new" foot patrol idea will last. How long did it last when Mayor Jay had the "new" idea of foot patrols? Pretty soon, they'll be coming out with another "new" idea - neighborhood foot patrols. That rolls around every year or so, too.

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4UNCOMMONSENSE(565 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

noBS is allBS...if you think the cops and other gov't employees will just quit their jobs and move to other states. Even with SB5, these are still good jobs. As for people will be lined up for jobs, just look at the thousands of applicants that applied for a few hundred casino jobs in Cleveland.

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5Cowboyfan(105 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

REALLY! You are comparing a Police Officer who puts his/her life on the line to a casino worker. Get a clue.

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6ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Foot patrols are a GREAT idea.

Problem is, they need these throughout the city, especially in residential areas where problems are reoccurring.

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7kensgirl(925 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Casino employess CANNOT even compare to being a police officer in Y-town. When was the last time you heard of a casino employee getting shot at work or putting their life on the line daily! The day we get rid of unions is the day this country travels back in time to a horrible era of subhuman working conditions God bless Y.P.D. R.I.P. Paul Durkin, Ralph DeSalle and Mike Hartzell.

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8VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Foot patrols in residential areas are too dangerous. Too easy to get ganged-up upon, or pot shots taken when you are in hostile territory. It would turn into a game or initiation ritual.

Just as in Iraq or Afghanistan, you need a patrol squad with automatic weapons.

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9redvert(2198 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Why are these police officers police officers? Because they CHOSE to be police officers.

I wish them the best and hope they are safe but don't try to play the put them on a pedestal game!

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10DwightK(1458 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Foot patrols are a great idea. I like it downtown but no one wants to see panhandling, drunks with open containers or some dude taking a leak in an alley. The business owners downtown and the city have made great strides in making downtown pleasant. It should be protected.

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11AnotherAverageCitizen(1176 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

They chose to be police officers to serve and protect us. Now so many of you want to take away from those who serve and protect us.

Street patrols are a great for officers to really get to know the businesses and people in the area. It starts great communication which is great for the area.


Vote NO on issue 2

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12AtownParent(565 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I hate that the discussion of this article has turned to SB5 instead of what it should be, a great big thank you to Rod Foley and his leadership to bring back foot patrols in downtown Youngstown.

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13pgurney(294 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I agree AtownParent. This article isn't about SB5.
I'm glad to see foot patrol in downtown. Good for them. NOW let's see a greater police presence in our neighborhoods.

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14AnotherAverageCitizen(1176 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

atown, pgurney,

Why are you not compaining people mentioned automatic rifles, war zone, subcultures, and soliciting benefits? Thats not what the article is about either.

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15NoBS(2390 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Steelhead, no, I never did think people will be lined up for those jobs. Can you not read?


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16thelonewolf(6 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

if sb5 passes lots of people including the YFD and the YPD are going to retire or take the buyout program to protect there funds i think its nice to have cops back walking in downtown and as long as the houses keeping burning down i have a job. but if they have cops walking downtown whos patrolling the streets on the worse side of Youngstown???????

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17valleynative19(52 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Is that Cox's punishment for being Jimmy Hughes' little lackey in the past? lol
I remember when Cox was Kelly Pavlik's spitboy during the fights, my how the mighty have fallen.

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