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Local takes role as new YSU police chief

March 15, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Mahoning County Sheriff's Department Capt. John Beshara was recently selected to fill the position of Youngstown State University police chief. The selection came after a three-month search to replace retiring Chief John Gocala, who officially left after 20 years serving the campus.

Beshara, a Boardman resident, began his new position on Feb. 20. He received praise from YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson,"Capt. Beshara brings to the YSU Police Department a wealth of

experience and knowledge and a stellar reputation in law enforcement circles throughout the region." In a press release announcing Beshara's selection, she continued,"As a YSU graduate and a lifelong resident of Mahoning County, Capt. Beshara is committed to making the university and the surrounding community a safe place to learn and live."

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Photo special to the Town Crier
Mahoning County Sheriff Capt. John Beshara has been named the new YSU chief of police.

Although Beshara resides in Boardman with his wife Julie and two daughters, Taylor and Emily, Beshara said he attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Youngstown. He said it was at the high school that his interest in law enforcement was sparked.

"My high school always had a Youngstown police officer there, so the first time I even noticed them was probably because of that," Beshara said. "Also, my high school sweetheart, who I eventually married, had a father who was retired Air Force and working as a captain at the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office, so you could say I kind of married into the profession. I saw the kind of person he was and the family he had, and it influenced my decision to pursue the career. Most important though, I believe I've always tried to help others and this profession is a way for me to do that."

After high school, Beshara went on to earn his master's degree in science. In November of 1988 he was appointed as a reserve deputy with the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department, then went full time on April 13 of the following year. On May 8, 1989 he was also was hired as an intermittent officer for the YSU Police Department. He maintained both positions up to his swearing in as the new YSU chief. While serving at YSU, he also managed to finish his education with the understanding it would help him some day.

"As I was moving up through the ranks at the S.O., I managed to complete my

education knowing one day that if I was ever going to be in charge of a

police agency, it would be significant," Beshara said. "When the police chief's position at the university opened, I was very excited. It's a dream come true just to have the opportunity to apply. Low and behold it has worked at well for me and, in my opinion, the university as well!"

As for what challenges Beshara's will face in his new leadership role, he said there are some definite areas of concern.

"In the short term, issues such as hazing and the misuse of technology such as Facebook, Twitter, email to make threats or harass are 'hot' issues that we need to get better at investigating," he said.

For the long term, Beshara said his goal is accreditation of the agency.



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