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« Reason

Youngstown's Finest Falter

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)


Published July 28, 2008

Youngstown wants to be patient with and supportive of its police department. We are cognizant of the enormous risks that go with the job and appreciative of the serious commitment that the brave men and women of the YPD make in choosing to be a part of the force.

As the homicide stats stack up each year and reports of all sorts of nasty incidents are broadcast, we are reminded both how dangerous and serious the jobs and lives of our police officers are and how far we have to go in securing our city.

We are not ignorant of the severe economic and unemployment situations that exacerbate the problem of crime. No reasonable person expects the police to be everywhere at all times, protecting everyone.

The very least we can expect, however, is that city employees perform their jobs honorably and are present and engaged while they are on duty.

Two recent events highlight the disparity between where we are and where we need to be. On June 14, as many as four officers are under investigation for alleged early and unauthorized exits. If borne out by the investigation, these officers showed disrespect to their colleagues and put their fellow officers and their constituents at risk.

On June 19, Detective Sgt. Robert Deichman died after crashing into a tractor-trailer. His blood-alcohol level was at almost twice the legal limit after having reportedly consumed five beers and a shot at the birthday party of a fellow officer. To add to the fatal irony, he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Deichman was on call and should have been responsible enough to not drink. His colleagues should have supported him in that effort and—should he have failed to remain sober—not allowed him to operate his vehicle.

The other thing I found interesting about both of these articles is this common thread:

a) "Hughes was out of the city Thursday, his secretary said, and he did not return calls from The Vindicator on Friday."

b) "Police Chief Jimmy Hughes could not be reached."

When the tough questions start coming in, that's when the department's highest voice needs to be heard. Otherwise, people will make up their own stories, and they won't be favorable ones.

Everyone knows Youngstown is short on money. A city government employee I spoke with this weekend actually used the term "bankrupt." We understand the tough circumstances of our city and our time. But the fewer resources available to our police officers, the more conscientiously they must perform their duties.


Comments

1lucy(123 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

What's that line from the film The American President? "In the absence of true leadership, people will listen to whoever's doing the talking." It just came to my mind when I read this post.

Also, props for the alliteration.

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2crse(15 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I wish this was a new issue. Sadly, I remember living on the north side fifteen years ago and making the joke that you didn't want to act up in my apartment because Id call the police and in three to four hours you'd be really sorry. Now that I think about it, the saddest part of this point is that now, I couldn't even make that guarantee because sometimes the police don't come at all these days....(taking off from Lucy's quote, Im glad that at least you are talking)

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3tylersclark(182 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

OldManGrump, it's always refreshing to have your insights. You play a wonderful role here on the Vindy boards and keep us all entertained. I'm fairly certain, however, that the collapse of the steel economy had a fairly substantial role to play in the flight of workers, the subsequent vacancy rate of homes in the area, and the consequent low property values in the area. Crime is primarily a reaction to the job loss and economic woes that followed by those who are most severely affected.

I feel sorry for those that continue to bash the never-say-die city of Youngstown. It's the comeback kid, and the naysayers will only be missing out on the incredible things happening here. Those of us who care about it and continue to fight to get the best managers in place for it will still welcome you when you see the light and want to join us one day within the city limits.

Don't feel sorry for us. We moved here gladly and by choice, and we intend to be here for a long time. You won't believe how far Youngstown will progress by 2030. Cheers!

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