Youngstown Police Dept. adds 9 officers, regains full strength
The addition of nine new officers this week has brought the Youngstown Police Department back to the number of officers Police Chief Rod Foley says he needs to operate effectively.
Eight men and one woman dressed in black stood attentively in the City Hall council chambers Tuesday morning. The nine candidates each raised one hand before Mayor Charles Sammarone and swore to protect the people in the city of Youngstown.
The nine new officers spent the day celebrating with their families and other members of the police department. In one week each will patrol the streets of Youngstown.
Foley said the department was nine officers short after the retirement and leave of several officers. He said the nine candidates hired this week brings the department back to 152 full-time officers — the number he needs to effectively protect the city.
“We can work with that number. We have enough for the patrol division to be proactive, plus we can continue to put some officers in special units like task forces that can work on more long-term investigations,” said Foley.
The police department last hired new officers in November of 2011, but not as many as the number taking the oath this week. Foley said the last time city hired as many as nine officers at one time was in 1997.
Sammarone said he asked the police chief how many officers he needed to effectively run the department and was told 152. He said the city will try and maintain that number in the future.
“I have always supported the police department. I have always felt that making the streets safe is a high priority,” said Sammarone.
According to Foley, several officers have indicated they will likely retire this year, so the department will again be hiring in order to keep the 152 officers needed to run the department. He said another round of hiring will not likely take place until early next year.
Foley said the new officers will be patrolling the streets in about a week, but not alone. Each of the nine officers will spend the first four months in the Field Training Officer program where they will be assigned a partner and made to work all three shifts on patrol.
After field training, the nine officers will likely be assigned afternoon or night shifts because day shifts in the department are assigned by seniority.
Officials had a pool of more than 100 candidates from which the nine officers could be selected. Foley said the determining factor was the character of the nine chosen.