Warren to allow entry level police officers up to age 40

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was edited to more clearly state the hiring record of the Warren Fire Department.

By Ed Runyan



The Warren Police Department has raised the eligibility age limit from 34 to 40 for people wanting to test to become an entry-level police officer.

Meanwhile, the Warren Fire Department apparently will continue its 25-year track record of hiring only white males because of a lack of women and minority candidates.

Police Chief Eric Merkel said he welcomes the age change “if it can widen the pool” of people who apply.

He said he believes there might be people who have military experience who may have retired from the military before they turned 40 who might make good police officers. The lowest age allowed is 21.

“There are a lot of people who have a lot of experience, especially military people who have thousands of dollars worth of training,” he said.

“If you do 20 [years] and out [in the military] and want another career, this could be it,” the chief said.

The Warren Civil Service Commission raised the top age for new police officers to 40 at its meeting Tuesday. It set a test date of 10 a.m. March 10 at Warren G. Harding High School.

It also set two times when people can apply: 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 31 and 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 4. Both sessions will be in Warren City Council chambers, 141 South St. SE.

Warren will hire 15 entry-level officers with the additional money approved by voters at the Nov. 8 election.

The test is general-knowledge questions, but Merkel asked the civil service commission chairman, Atty. Dan Letson, whether Warren could begin using a test with some law-enforcement questions on it, as some other departments do.

Letson said he and the clerk, Ereka Langford, will research that question.

Meanwhile, the Warren Fire Department will hire 15 to 18 firefighters this year with money from a two-year federal grant.

But Fire Chief Ken Nussle said all 20 people who passed the entry-level test for firefighter are white males.

One female and one black male signed up to take the exam, but neither took the test, Nussle said.

The department has never had a female firefighter, and the last minority hired was a black male 25 years ago, Nussle said.

The department has firefighters who teach firefighting at the Trumbull Career and Technical Center, and they encouraged minorities and women in the program to take the test, Nussle said.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t have any minority or women candidates,” he said.