Lack of manpower hindering some operations for Youngstown police
The Youngstown Police Department welcomed four new officers this morning.
Kristina Menichini, Chad Shaffer, William Droste and Michael Brown will be replacing four other officers that have left the department for better opportunities or more pay.
Chief Carl Davis says they will eventually be patrolmen after more training has been completed in other areas first.
These new additions will keep the department afloat, but the chief says they're struggling to attract more officers. It's an issue that even hinders the department from taking on other tasks across Youngstown.
"We still manage to do our best to keep the citizens of Youngstown safe," said Chief Davis.
This is not a problem unique to the city of Youngstown. A national survey from the Police Executive Research Forum found that over the last several years, hiring has been up, but it hasn't been enough to catch up with all the resignations.
"It's difficult but we're going to keep trying," Chief Davis said.
At YPD, Captain Rod Foley tells 21 News all hands have to be on deck to fill patrolmen positions but, "that inhibits us from doing other things that we want to do," Captain Foley said.
Captain Foley continues, they would like to have officers stationed around the clock in neighborhoods that are known for violent crime, but it's not in the cards with a lack of manpower.
"If we can put officers in targeted areas where we know we have problems at, that visibility is a great deterrent out there," Captain Foley said.
Other available manpower goes toward community policing.
"It's impactful because it gives our neighborhoods, our people and our neighborhoods, our citizens the ability to say that we can trust our police and we can go to them if we need to," said Community Liaison and Officer Malik Mostella.
Captain Foley says right now, the department has less than 130 officers and needs about 20 more to cover the city more efficiently.
At the moment, there aren't any other candidates to consider, but Chief Davis tells 21 News he's working on incentives like signing bonuses and lateral transfers which would allow officers to keep their seniority from other departments.