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New Chief Lees says he inherits 'efficient' department



Published: Sat, January 4, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

As he was sworn in as police chief Friday in Youngstown City Council chambers, two of Robin Lees’ former co-workers could barely hold in their excitement.

Retired Detective Sgt. Delphine Baldwin-Casey and Councilman Nathaniel Pinkard, D-3rd, retired Mill Creek MetroParks police chief who also once served on the city police, said they were looking forward to having Lees sworn in by Mayor John McNally. They both joined the force with Lees in 1978.

Lees replaces former Chief Rod Foley, who was appointed by outgoing Mayor Charles Sammarone. Foley will stay on the department as a captain. His official duties have yet to be determined.

Baldwin-Casey said Lees’ strengths will be the roles he played in the department as head of the Vice Squad and the Planning and Training Bureau as well as his leadership of the Mahoning Valley Crisis Response Team and the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force.

“He always did have a leadership role in the department,” Baldwin-Casey said.

Pinkard, who is now chairman of council’s safety committee, said Lees’ role at the task force will be a big help because he is used to overseeing long-term, complex investigations, which is what the task force does.

Lees retired as a lieutenant in 2011 after 33 years on the department. He was chosen by McNally after McNally told him to submit an application and resume. He was not an original applicant for the job after McNally won the election in November.

When asked why he submitted his resume, Lees said, “It was a little difficult to tell him no.”

Lees told those who attended the swearing-in ceremony that he is taking over a department that is working well.

“I’m inheriting an efficient police department,” Lees said.

Lees said in the next few weeks he wants to see how the department allocates its resources so he can figure out how to put his own stamp on operations. He did say he expects several of Foley’s initiatives, including the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence program, to continue.

Lees said he already has had discussions with McNally about his visions for the police department, and he wants to meet with the unions that represent groups of officers as well as council members to explain his plans and hear their concerns.

Lees did say he wants to find a way to increase uniformed officers’ presence in the neighborhoods.

Baldwin-Casey said Lees’ best strength is the way he deals with different groups of people and that will serve him well as chief.


Comments

1Jronjakoh(6 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The first thing Lee needs to do is to bring back the Community Police Officer, who is willing to 'talk out the problem' with people and not come to answer a call with the intention of arresting 'anyone' with or without an excuse. The officers come to answer a call, and instead listening to the person who made the call and trying to help solve the problem, they want to arrest someone, just to prove they are the POLICE. The 'ego attitude' has to go.
No one is going to call them for help, if they have to fear being arrested whether they are the victim or the perpetrator. THAT is not Community Policing.
Secondly, the call should not be answered to," Is there a weapon or gun involved?" Unless it is a gun problem, they will not show up for at least a half hour or more, and the caller should not have to be told that "it will be a while because they are all tied up at the moment," especially with the increase in the amount of officers now on each shift. Also, when they have do arrive, they will immediately have their gunstrap unhooked and they walk in with their hand on their gun. If they are that afraid of answering a call that they have to use that form of communication, then they should not be police officers. This is the United States, not Afghanistan or Iraq, where even the children can be criminals.

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2kensgirl(540 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey Ironman- what the hell do you know about police work????? Obviously you have a major problem with police. The 911 center HAS to ask if there is a gun. Even if the caller says "no" a police officer is still a open target for any crackpot to fire on him/her. Also you have a problem with a police officer unstrapping his gun? How many police officers have YOU known that have gotten shot or killed in the line of duty?? I've known too many. I know too many police widows who are still trying to cope with the aftermath of a dead husband and father. I've stood by countless coffins of dead police officers. Why don't you get some b**** and go for a ride with the guys to see what it's really like out there? Take your 2 measely comments and put them where the sun don't shine. What a whiner. Wah wah wah!

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3eivo(1452 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

If Lees wants to improve the police department, he needs to increase the size of the police force until, if necessary, there is a cop on every corner. When there is problem, the police should converge on that area and take control of the situation including arrests of anyone who is acting suspiciously or giving some story that there behavior is the fault of some other individual. Then when the people arrested come to court, they should have minimum and increasingly progressive prison sentences for repeat violations. For example any caught carrying a firearm illegally should be given a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison for the first offense, 10 years for a second offense, and 20 years for a third offense. If necessary, we may have to build more prisons until the offenders get the message that their behavior is unacceptable.

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4Jronjakoh(6 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Excuse me Ms..Kensgirl
I HAVE ridden with Police not only as a spectator, but as a patrolling partner also.
I have been involved in police work since 1972 in Pa. and Ohio both. I am currently a Reserve Deputy ( or was until a gung ho Rookie busted me for no reason) after my wife called them to assist me in getting to the hospital. He totally destroyed my career. I have an Associates and Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, and because of this idiotic cop who walked into my house with his gun half drawn, my future is gone. I can't even get a Security Guard job. My wife already had met them outside and informed both cops that no weapons or guns were involved. I come to find out he had pulled up my information on the computer, that flags me as a Concealed Carrier and Reserve Deputy, before he got to the house. You ask me, he was one of the biggest Chickenpoop cops on the Youngstown force. So don't ask me what I know about Police Work. And it is NOT Ironman name caller! And to think he became a full time cop after him and the Prosecutor tried to intimidate my wife into filing false charges against me for Domestic Violence?? I think you know yourself where that sun doesn't shine and it isn't your arse either. So shove it yourself unless you know what the situation is. I don't whine, I just state the facts. Youngstown's (and everybody else's cops) are mostly military trained ex personnel, and they come aboard with that attitude that they are facing a foreign enemy. This is, as I stated before, The United States of America and the OLD police used to come in, talk about what happened and try to help solve the problem. NOT " YOUR UNDER ARREST FOR TALKING THE WRONG WAY TO YOUR WIFE!" Thank You Mrs. O'Bama for your lousy $.02!! And I am a Democrat. So shove that where the sun don't shine.

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5author50(1121 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

More police for downtown events and less for the neighborhoods!

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6southsidedave(4709 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The criminal element has no respect for the police, or society in general. Unfortunately, increasing the amount of police on the street will not prevent crime from occurring.

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7eivo(1452 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I disagree. If there were a policeman everywhere they turned or looked, they would either change their behavior or they would all be in prison.

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8kensgirl(540 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Ironman - the crime today isn't the same as the crime in the past. Today's crimes are much worse. The worst thing that happened when you sat down to take a report was a cockroach crawling up your pants. Now everyone has an AK47 in the house or is hepped up on ecstacy, Angel Dust, inhalants etc. You never know what you're walking into. Some of my ex police friends still have bullets lodged in their head and spines from walking into a home when some druggie opened fire on them. I've been there too. And BTW I'm definitely not an Obama person. His Socialist politics are ruining this country. God forbid people work for a living anymore. Everyone wants a free handout and he's giving it to them. Next time I have to call the police I won't get offended when the operator asks "Is there a gun involved." And you can be sure I won't be calling from an Obamaphone. I worked for mine!

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9Jronjakoh(6 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Why do you insist on calling me Ironman?? I have no idea who this is and it definitely is not me. My handle is and always has been Jronjakoh. Want to meet me and find out who I am?? I'll buy the coffee at Mikkee D's on 5th Ave. I live on the North Side by Wick Park and have been here for over 20 years.So if you know who this Ironman is, get your poop straight. If that is too much for you to comprehend, then do not bother to respond to my post.
You think I havn't known any brothers who have died or been seriously injured when answering calls? You think I have not held a person who was totally mangled in a auto accident, in my arms, while they died?? I been in this world for 64 years and have been in every State in the Union , with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, and what I have seen or had to participate in you, and I know for a fact, would NEVER be able to stand and look at like I had to, My point in the original post was that, I expected professional courtesy and help from the guys when they came to my house, But the FTO had no say over the decisions made and the Rookie had to use me for his first major bust. I was in need of meds for my HBP and My Insulin sugar, both were skyrocketing, and the rookie decided because I told my wife we would be getting a divorce, I was threatening her. And I was arrested for Felony Domestic Violence.So since you are so up and up on police work, What do I do now?? What do you suggest? When I attempted to talk to Foley, his secretary claimed there was nothing I could do. I'm stuck with a record of misdemeanor domestic violence. I will say this, I am completing my Masters in Public Administration, and when I do , LOOK OUT YOUNGSTOWN. I'm going to start with City Council, and providing I live long enough, I'll run for Mayor. Someone needs to straighten this town out. There is entirely too much "passing the Buck' going on in this town.

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10eivo(1452 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Youngstown needs to look no further than Campbell to see how to run a police force. As per today's article they have arrested so many that the criminals have received the message that it is best to avoid Campbell. Exactly what needs to happen in Youngstown. Keep arresting, arresting, arresting and throwing them in prison until the prisons are full and then build new prisons and keep the process going. Eventually, as in Campbell, the criminals will get the message that their behavior is unacceptable or all those with the unacceptable behavior will end up in prison.

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11zz3(874 comments)posted 3 months, 1 week ago

eivo: good idea, just 1 major problem! It would begin to target a certain group and hell would be raised in Thugstown and that would be the end of that! The attitudes of places like Canfield or Poland started a long time ago and they realized what would bring their area down and the set fear as a way to keep that group out. Period! They did not care about the repercussions or backlash of a group or groups which they have. They had a plan and it's worked. Our plan of catering to the cockroaches has not worked out, clearly!!

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