SHARON, Pa. (WYTV) – Over the past few months, the Sharon Police Department has made great strides in expanding to better serve its community.
Thursday night, Sharon PD officially swore in three new officers, who were surrounded by family, friends and community leaders.
“It’s a pretty great feeling,” said new officer Cody Haag said. “A lot of people in my academy are still looking for a job. I consider myself very lucky.”
Haag is from Dubois. He says he’s mostly unfamiliar with Sharon, but is excited to acclimate himself with the area.
Cody Bartley, meanwhile, is familiar with the city. He was born and raised in New Castle and calls Sharon PD — which he joins after serving three years with Sharpsville’s department — an ideal location.
“It’s a great team environment,” Bartley said. “Family environment. It’s really similar to where I grew up, so in my opinion, that’s what makes it one of the premiere departments in this area.”
Josh Sonney was born in Erie and grew up in Iowa. His past includes seven years in the Air Force, having spent time in Baghdad. He’s excited to work near his wife and kids.
“The camaraderie that comes with this line of work — whether it’s military of law enforcement — is unmatched in any other career you can find,” Sonney said. “So having that here — having brothers in blue supporting us, but also having my parents and kids here being able to see that…my kids love that I’m back in law enforcement, so it’s really nice.”
As Chief Gerald Smith congratulated the newest officers, he also reminded them about the tough career they are about to embark on and the challenges they may face.
The department is on track to respond to a total of 30,000 calls this year alone — many coming from the opioid epidemic striking the city. Smith said Sharon PD responds to at least one overdose per day, adding that the department has had to use Narcan 19 times since mid-May — saving 18 lives.
But Smith made it clear there’s also a reward that comes from serving the community.
“It seems like more and more is being placed on law enforcement, or more is expected of them,” Smith said. “I’m proud of these guys because they step up and whatever task is given to them, they do it.”
There are now a total of 31 police officers serving the city of Sharon. It’s a job and title each of the three new members hold in the highest regard.
“It’s to be part of that community. It’s to be held to a higher standard,” Smith said. “It’s to basically earn the respect of those we serve.”