The Youngstown Police Department is looking for a few good recruits — and they are hoping to pull them from the ranks of city residents, minorities and veterans.
The department will begin distributing fliers and hanging posters in an effort to encourage those in the target groups to take the test to be police officers. The minimum-age requirement is 21.
Seventeen officers have been added to the department since Rod Foley took over as police chief. Those additional officers kept the department’s number of sworn officers at 152, where it is now, but Foley said expected retirements are going to decrease that number in the near future.
“The mayor has been committed to keeping our numbers at 152, so we are going to have to go out there and actively recruit,” said Foley. “We are looking to actively recruit veterans and inner-city residents who want to become officers.”
There no longer is a requirement for a police officer to live in the city.
Foley also said the department has a grant from the 2012 Cops Hiring Program: Vets to Cops, which will allow the hiring of three officers above the standard 152. The grant will pay the officers’ salaries for three years.
Those interested in taking the exam can begin signing up for it Monday. The last day to sign up is Nov. 8. The exam will be given Nov. 17.
Lt. Brian Butler said those interested should sign up for the exam as soon as possible. Only 400 applications will be accepted.
Veterans taking the test will be given additional points for their military service. Those living in the city and those who already have police certification also will be given additional points on the exam.
Foley said the department is highly diverse and operating in a diverse city, something he is proud of and wants to maintain. He will be meeting with chaplains in the department Tuesday in an effort to have them work with churches to bring in more city residents and veterans.
Foley said most applicants in the past have not been from the city.
“You would think we would have more people from the city interested,” Foley said. “We offer a livable wage and a great benefits package. There are a variety of things you can do from patrol to vice.”
Qualifications for candidates are a high school diploma, passing a written exam, physical a fitness test, passing a thorough background check and passing a medical/psychological/drug screen test.
Butler said those considering a career in law enforcement with the department should not feel discouraged from beginning the process. Though felony convictions and past acts of violence may exclude a candidate, more minor run-ins with the law for things such as DUI are not an automatic disqualification.
“We know people have had past lives. We are not looking for perfect people, but we do look to character,” he added.