By Joe Gorman
As police swore in four new officers Thursday, Chief Robin Lees said he wishes there were more.
That’s because the department has been dealing not just with retirements, but with officers leaving for other departments that pay higher starting salaries.
Of the four officers sworn in Thursday, two of them – Daniel Spivey III, 38, of Youngstown and Jason Quarrie, 45, a native of Jamaica who was a firefighter and paramedic there for 17 years – have to complete the police academy at Youngstown State University before they can begin their training. The training will take several months.
The other two officers are David Hilliard, 36, of Lisbon, who was an officer there for 14 years; and Carlo Eggleston Jr., 27, of Warren, who has worked for the Campbell Police Department and the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office. His father, Carlo Eggleston Sr., has been a city police officer for 25 years. Both of those officers will begin their training duties immediately with the department.
More than 10 officers have left in a two-year period for other departments, said Lt. Brian Butler, staff inspector. Lees said that creates problems in trying to find enough officers to fully staff all of the department’s beats per shift and has also created some morale problems.
“On a day-to-day basis, we have to fill those patrol cars,” Lees said.
It will take Hilliard and Eggleston up to four months of training before they can work a beat on their own, and probably at least a year before Spivey and Quarrie complete the police academy and then their training with the department, the chief said.
Fewer officers mean that officers will be mandated to work overtime more often, which Lees said is not the best interest of anyone, especially an officer who worked the midnight shift and then has to stay on and work day turn.
The starting salary for a city police officer is just under $15 an hour.
Lees said the new crop of officers sworn in Thursday shows the city’s outreach and recruiting efforts to attract minorities is paying off, as three of the four new officers are black.
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown told the four that he hopes they can grow every day on the job, and that they rely on the advice of fellow officers to help them.
“Grow into your job. Be who you are,” Brown said. “Understand the people you serve.”
Spivey said he had wanted to be a police officer when he was younger but wasn’t able to. Now is the perfect time for him, he said. He said he hopes he can bring change.
“In the city, it’s time for a change,” Spivey said.
Hilliard said he decided to come to Youngstown because there is more opportunity for advancement and to perform other law- enforcement tasks. He said his 14 years of experience will be a big plus.
“I’ve learned how to deal with different people in the community,” Hilliard said.
Quarrie said he was too old to be considered a candidate for the fire department, so he took the Civil Service exam for police. He said his experience as a firefighter and someone a bit older than a new officer will come in handy.
“It’s not just about arresting people, it’s about helping them to become better citizens,” Quarrie said.
Eggleston said he was heavily influenced by his father.
“I just thought it was the coolest thing,” he said. “I want to change a lot of people’s lives.”
The elder Eggleston said he is very proud of his son. He said his advice to his son would be: “Constantly educate yourself.”