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2 join ranks of police

Austintown swears in officers, looking for more to add to force

AUSTINTOWN — Anna Mangan and Phil Fusco are the latest additions to the Austintown Police Department.

“We have two real good candidates here, and I think they’re going to turn out to be good officers for the Austintown Police Department,” police Chief Robert Gavalier said Monday after they were sworn in.

Both Mangan and Fusco said their desire to be an officer stems from when they were younger.

“My sophomore year in high school is when I realized I wanted to be a police officer. My cousin is a police officer, and I did a ride-along with him. I fell in love with it right then and there,” Fusco said.

Fusco previously worked at the Lawrence County, Pa., jail, and Austintown Sgt. Valorie Delmont said he spoke about the prisoners he supervised with both respect and compassion. She also said his true colors showed during his interview.

“He said you treat everybody with respect because all of us are one mistake away from being in that situation. I thought that was very humbling to hear, and he is someone that is out here for the right reasons. And that really stuck out to me,” Delmont said.

As for Mangan, she said she joined the National Guard after her first semester at Youngstown State University and that was also when she realized this was her career path.

One thing Delmont said gave Mangan an advantage was her experience. She comes from a full-time position with Milton Township.

“She came with high recommendations from their chief as well as other officers as far as having a good head on her shoulders,” Delmont said.

Mangan also said she had an opportunity to work for the Secret Service.

“I received a conditional offer from the Secret Service but decided to stay here,” Mangan said. “I’m a homebody and I couldn’t leave my family. I have relatives that live in the township, too, and it’s nice to be able to be there for them as well as others.”

Delmont said the new hires’ next step is learning how the department functions. In a few weeks, she said they will be working with a seasoned officer. The goal is to have both of them going solo by May.

“They’re definitely both good candidates. They have strong backgrounds,” Delmont said.

Both Mangan and Fusco will be paid $22.73 hourly, she said.

ACTIVELY SEARCHING

The township police department still is looking to hire one officer immediately.

The need for officers comes after what Delmont calls a “COVID-19 freeze,” meaning the department was unable to hire due to the ongoing pandemic.

“Right now the scene is very competitive,” Delmont said. “We’ve lost applicants to other area departments and every other department is in the same boat.”

Delmont said the department is down three officers after one retired, one left on disability and another left for a different career.

“We’re maintaining our obligations, but there is always the possibility to pull from other areas within the department to fulfull everyday needs,” Delmont said.

According to a job posting by the department, interested people can get applications from the department or online and return them to the department, where they will be screened.

Those selected will be considered for a full-time position.

The hiring process takes roughly six months and then another couple of months before the officers are ready, Delmont said.

“We do anticipate more openings with retirements coming up,” Delmont said.

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