YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The next time you go to the movies, just as you’re sitting down to enjoy the show, you might see an advertisement urging people to consider working for the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.
It’s a problem Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene never expected to have — relying on commercials to attract new employees.
“For example, where we’d have 20 applications to look at for one or two positions, now we might have four or five applications for a couple positions,” he said.
The ads have been running on TV locally for some time but Thursday morning, county commissioners agreed to spend $2,700 to start running the spots at area movie theaters.
“We’re looking at millennials, people that are in their mid-20s, early 30s,” Greene said.
Over the last two years, the sheriff’s office has hired and trained 34 new deputies and almost the same number have left.
The problem is just as bad for Youngstown police. The department has lost 22 officers since 2015.
“We’re struggling to fill cars,” Chief Robin Lees said. “We’re spending a lot of money on overtime to staff.”
Lees, like the sheriff, said a number of his hires have been lured away for better salaries offered by departments around northeast Ohio — some of them not that far away.
“The real problem we’re having is when we’re starting to lose people to neighboring agencies like Hubbard and Austintown. That’s a problem where they’re coming right across the border and we lose them there.”
For now, Greene hopes this idea will stem the tide.
“Right now, we’re barely keeping our heads above water,” he said.
New sheriff’s deputies are being offered $17 an hour.
New Youngstown police officers are making just under $16 an hour and only recently saw an increase of about $1.50 an hour.
If you’d like to apply for the deputy position, you can visit the sheriff’s office’s website.
If you’d like to apply to be a Youngstown police officer, you can call the department office at 330-742-8926 during business hours.