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Austintown police bring in new personnel to train for full time

Published: 4/10/13 @ 12:00


By Susan Tebben

stebben@vindy.com

AUSTINTOWN

The Austintown Police Department is trying to increase the ranks of its reserve-officer program, but as fast as officers get into the program, they are needed for full-time work.

The reserves are ready to go, however, after getting training from the Austintown officers themselves.

At Monday’s township trustee’s meeting, Hannah Banks, David Yohman, Adam Hess and Dominic Cicozi were sworn in as reserve officers effective Monday, Tuesday, today and Thursday, respectively.

The officers bring the reserve officer total to seven, on the way to the 10 that Police Chief Bob Gavalier hopes to have.

“We thought it was a realistic shot” to get 10 officers, Gavalier said. “We used to have over 20, but it’s going to take a couple years to get to the 10 we want.”

The forces aren’t up to that number yet because of the four to six months it takes to train the officers, a limited amount of full-time officers who can train the reserves and an increase in turnover from retirements and promotions within the department. The turnover is expected to continue with three more retirements set to happen within the year.

“Because of the time it takes, we can only do about three or four at a time,” said Gavalier — a reserve officer himself when he started.

The officers have to put in at least 32 hours to stay in the reserve force, and more if they want to learn more about being an Austintown police officer.

“A lot of people look at this reserve program as a steppingstone, and we expect a lot from the reserve officers,” Trustee Jim Davis said as the officers were sworn in.

The reserve program gives both the officers and the department an edge because the officers are out on the streets where they would work as full-time officers, and the department gets to see how they work before they are hired on.

The department pays for the uniform for a reserve officer, about $1,200 to $1,500 for all equipment, and the training is paid for by the department as well.

“You can’t really put a price on the training,” Gavalier said, because the training is done within the department and by the officers the reserves would be working with on a daily basis.