YPD struggles with numbers, diversity

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown Police Department has a few problems: There is not enough officers and not enough minority representation on the force.

Police Chief Robin Lees met with the mayor and members of city council Wednesday night to discuss solutions. The source of the problem is that only one out of every five people taking the test to become a police officer is a minority candidate.

Mayor John McNally said the city has stepped up its recruiting efforts, but is still struggling to get minorities to the table.

And the chief said the department is losing good candidates to areas that pay more than Youngstown pays.

Lees said the Youngstown Police Department lost one of their new hires to Youngstown State University for $4 an hour.

“That is exactly what they do. They raid departments like ours for better people,” Lees said.

Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, 6th Ward, said council may have to revisit the wage issue to ensure the city gets good police candidates. She suggested asking Canton officials what they are doing because that city is having similar issues and is similar in size to Youngstown.

The chief also said he is looking to beef up recruiting efforts for new police officers, including getting officers into more schools to meet with students. The fire department has begun a similar program in schools to recruit more firefighters.

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