YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — This week in our In-Depth segment, WKBN Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford spoke with Youngstown Police Chief Carl Davis on crime and violence in the city and his role as chief of police.
COVID has had a major impact on many people’s lives, but what impact did Davis see as police chief?
“I often heard this theory that there was pent-up energy after COVID, and actually, we saw some of the results of that in a couple of our nightclub shootings and that when the public when things were opening up to the public, now, you had more people that were coming out, and again, like I said, there was some pent-up energy there. But unfortunately, the result was a lot of violence, and now that’s where we’re at now, trying to deal with this and come up with some solutions,” said Davis.
As a chief of police, Davis has had a lot of partners, but how does he encourage and keep his staff on point given that they’re shorthanded as well?
“Actually, our numbers are, we’re at the lowest that we’ve ever been in the history of the Youngstown Police Department. Our profession seriously took a hit. And there were a couple of things that I believe contributed to that during the George Floyd protest. There was a plummeting trust and mistrust in police officers. There were some things said about defunding the police. This offended some of the officers. So you had a lot of officers either leave the profession or what we saw was a curtailment in proactivity. And policing, not only in our department, but this was nationwide that then that criminal element picked up on this slow down and proactivity. And now, now we have an increase in shootings,” said Davis.
Davis said one caution to the community is that people sometimes overlook the high cost of crime, including the costs for Davis and his budget, and living here in the city of Youngstown, where the population is declining. But the need for the dollars to go into public safety is increasing.
“There is a cost attached to that. Now, I wish I had some exact numbers for you. I don’t have that, but I can get those for you. But absolutely, there there there’s a cost. And that’s something that the public probably needs to know. Each time an officer is sent and we use resources for overtime, that there’s a cost involved in that,” said Davis.
When dealing with the high cost, the budget remains pretty much the same because allocation doesn’t necessarily increase based upon the cost of demand and numbers. But it is something that Davis presents to council and to the mayor in order to justify his budget each year.
“Council and I sometimes don’t always see eye to eye, but we’ve managed to work through these things,” said Davis.
Tuesday, we will talk about the Impact Initiative, which is designed to reduce violence in the streets of Youngstown. You can see that on First News at 5 p.m. and on WKBN.com.