YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown police have made offers of employment to five candidates.
The candidates must undergo a medical exam required by the state pension board, said Staff Inspector Lt. Brian Butler, who heads up the hiring and recruiting process.
If they pass their physicals the next step will be to have police Chief Carl Davis and Mayor Jamael Tito Brown determine when they will begin, Butler said.
Butler said he hopes the five can be brought on “within a week or two.”
The department has been plagued by a shortage of officers in the patrol division this year because of a rash of exits by officers to other departments who pay a higher salary, or are leaving law enforcement altogether.
In June, the union representing patrol officers said the department is down 38% overall from the number of officers it had in May of 2020, and the number of officers who are assigned to the patrol division has dropped from 70 to 54, and more have left since then.
The shortage is so acute that officers, particularly on afternoon turn, are being mandated to work overtime because there are not enough officers to fill the next shift.
One candidate the city was looking to hire earlier this summer also left to go to another department because the salary is higher.
But just hiring an officer would not do enough to solve the current manpower crunch. It takes a new hire anywhere from four to six months to complete their training with field training officers before they are assigned a beat of their own.
The last time the department hired officers was May 2020, when three officers were added.
The department has 13 patrol beats it must staff for three shifts in a 24-hour period, not counting supervisors or 39 officers.
Youngstown officers start out at $34,299 a year and go through 10 steps before making a maximum salary of $58,302.
City council did agree in 2019 to a raise for starting patrol officers and also decreased the time it takes to achieve maximum salary, but there has been no action on salaries since then.