WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Warren Police Department has seen a decrease in its numbers. In just the last three years, the department has gone from a roster of 65 officers to 59.
With one officer on extended sick leave and another’s employment status in arbitration, the force is left with just 57 officers on the road.
“Everybody wants more officers, and we want more officers. It’s just, you can only do what the money will allow,” said Warren Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa.
Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel said that the budget the department requested initially would be enough to cover the salaries of 69 officers, plus himself.
“Every department requests funding for everything in their department, and then the administration decides what is actually needed,” he said.
In budget requests for 2016, Auditor Vince Flask says the police department requested around $9 million. Flask says they initially only budgeted the department $7.5 million, which has since amended to $8.1 million.
Cantalamessa said budgets are fluid and reviewed constantly.
“As revenues increase, safety forces are always something we look to add to,” he said.
Merkel said there are currently two people going through the necessary tests to become a patrolmen with the department.
Two other officers were promoted on Wednesday in front of family, friends and coworkers.
John Wilson and Jeffrey Orth took the oath, officially becoming sergeants. Both officers have been with the Warren Police Department for over ten years.
Cantalamessa congratulated them on their accomplishments.
“Both fine officers, have served in the department with distinction well over their entire careers. It was the city’s pleasure to be able to confer this rank upon them and we’re confident they’re gonna do a great job as sergeants in the department.”
Wilson and Orth are now in supervisory positions.