Austintown's reserve officer program is paying off as three more officers moved to full-time service on Monday. Joel Gensler, Ronnie Crum and Daniel Burich took the oath of office at the township meeting and began full-time service Tuesday morning.
"Every officer we've hired as reserves is now full time," said Township Trustee Jim Davis.
Having a strong reserve unit continues to be one of Davis' pet projects. He said when he returned to the trustee seat, he knew he wanted to build a strong reserve unit at the Austintown Police Department.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Township fiscal officer Laura Wolfe issues the oath of office to Austintown reserve officers Joel Gensler, Ronnie Crum and Daniel Burich, who moved to full-time service on Monday night.
"For a program we don't pay for, it's paying off," he said.
The reserve unit is made up of officers who are unpaid, but required to put in 32 hours a month riding with full-time officers. During those hours, the reserve officer gets to know the department and the community. They get valuable on-the-job training that is required for full-time service.
Davis said without the reserve unit, new hires would be paid to train for six months before they could go out on their own. With the reserve program, that training requirement is met and when an opening comes along, they are ready to step in.
The reserve program also came at a good time for the police department. A good percentage of officers were reaching retirement age and it meant a lot of replacements would be needed. The reserve unit provided those replacements while allowing the township administrators a chance to see how the new officers would fit in before they were hired full time.
Police Chief Robert Gavalier said the three recent hires showed how important their community is to them.
"All three [of those hired tonight] worked other jobs, have families, and were still required to put in their 32 hours," Gavalier said. "It takes a high level of dedication to do that."
Burich is a Struthers graduate who went on to Youngstown State University where he needed one more course and took criminal justice. He said he loved it so much that he changed his major and ended up attending the police academy. He was previously with the Campbell Police Department.
Gensler attended the University of Toledo's academy after graduating from Stryker High School near Toledo. He said police work has been his lifelong dream. He moves from the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department.
Crum, a Jackson Milton graduate, took his police training at the Kent State academy. He started out with the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department in 1983 and most recently was with the Jackson Township Police. He retired after 33 years with British Petroleum. He said everything just worked out for him to come to the Austintown department.
Gavalier said the move to full time for these three men leaves the reserve ranks at two. He said next month he is hoping to swear in four more to bring the numbers back up.
In other business from Monday night:
Jack Kidd and Larry Cadman from the Fitch Class of 1962 gave a presentation on the ink pens they are selling to raise funds for a memorial to their classmates Sgt. James Prommersberger and Lt. Charles Brown. Both young men lost their lives serving in Vietnam and the class decided to build a memorial to the men on the Fitch campus. To raise funds they have taken wood from the former Fitch High School on Mahoning Avenue and crafted ink pens they are selling.
Trustees approved demolition bids for detached garages at 88 Idaho Road for $1,100 and 580 North Turner Road for $1,100. Both winning bids were from All Demolition and Company's, 1195 East Western Reserve Road, Poland.
Trustees approved the demolition of an accessory building on North Canfield-Niles Road just south of the Dunlap Road intersection.
Trustees approved the declaration of nuisance (junk) vehicles at 3790 Mahoning Ave., 5408 West Radio Road, and at 1258 Ohltown Road. The property owners will be sent letters ordering the removal of the vehicles within 14 days.
Trustees approved a new Class D2 liquor permit for Gallo de Oro LLC doing business as Los Gallos, 920 North Canfield Road.