Davis takes helm

Veteran officer selected as city’s new police chief

Carl Davis, right, Youngstown’s newest police chief, talks about working to regain the community’s trust while Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, who appointed him Friday, listens.

YOUNGSTOWN — Carl Davis, the city’s new police chief, said he wants to “rebuild trust and confidence” in the department.

Davis, a 34-year veteran of the city police force, said how to do that is a challenge, but one he is up to meeting.

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown appointed Davis, who was a detective sergeant, as chief Friday. He made the decision public at a news conference in city council chambers.

“Davis has demonstrated quality leadership skills over the years that will benefit the people of Youngstown,” Brown said.

Brown wanted to hire an officer from the city ranks as chief after he fired Robin Lees last week from the job, effective Friday, because of differing opinions about the department’s direction.

Lees was planning to retire as chief at the end of the year. He retired from the department in early 2011 after more than 30 years there and returned as chief in January 2014.

Davis said he plans to build on what Lees did, but added: “My goal is to restore confidence in the police department.”


Davis said he wants to get officers more engaged with those in the community by meeting people in the neighborhoods and through social media. He added he’ll seek feedback from residents about the use of body cameras.

“Youngstown is a great community,” he said. “I’ve been here all my life, but we have some issues with violence and shootings.”

Brown added: “It’s a change in philosophy. He wants to re-establish relationships.”

Davis’ annual salary goes from $67,047.96 to $94,249.79.

Davis joined the Youngstown force in September 1986 as a patrolman. He was assigned in 1990 to the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority Unit; moved in 1993 to the “power shift,” a unit that worked staggered hours to supplement the patrol units during shift changes; and was promoted in 1999 to detective sergeant, where he first supervised officers.

In 2001, he was assigned to the detective bureau, where he investigated property crimes such as burglaries and thefts, and worked with the Crime Stoppers program.

Since 2015, he’s worked for the internal affairs division where he investigated allegations of officer misconduct and assisted in the management of the background investigations and hiring process of police officers and civilian support positions.

In 2016, he also led the police chaplaincy corps in which he ensured that chaplains were providing spiritual guidance, counseling and comfort in times of crisis to officers and families.

Davis said he wants to work closer with religious leaders to get clergy more involved with the department.

He was among three in the department who applied to be chief and the only one who lives in the city, residing on the West Side. Lees lives in Poland.

The two other applicants were:

Lt. William Ross of Hubbard, who’s been with the department for 29 years and has been the head of the traffic division since 2011.

Patrolman Matt Simon of Poland, who’s worked for the department for four years and is currently a sergeant in the Army National Guard.

Councilman Julius Oliver, D-1st Ward, who was at the Friday news conference, said of the Davis appointment: “It’s the right direction at the right time. He’s a great officer and he’s got a lot of trust.”


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