Youngstown Police Department adds three new officers, looks to add five more soon

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Police Chief Robin Lees said the new hires will cut down on overtime

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Youngstown Police Department added three new officers Tuesday and is planning on five more to be added as soon as the background checks and other paperwork can be completed.

With six officers sworn in December and about to finish up their time with Field Training Officers, the city will be adding a total of 14 new officers to bolster the ranks of the Patrol Division.

The officers sworn in Tuesday during a ceremony in City Council Chambers are Zachary Scott, 25; Justin Babos, 25; and Andrew Balog, 24.

Promoted to Detective Sergeant is Travis Kis, who has been an officer for seven and a half years. He works a beat primarily on the East Side.

Kis will be a patrol supervisor on afternoon turn.

The new officers will begin in-service training immediately for about a week. They will then hit the road with a Field Training Officer on all three shifts before being assigned a beat of their own, a process that takes between four and six months.

Police Chief Robin Lees said the new hires will also cut down on overtime because there will be enough officers on the road to staff all beats on all shifts. Last year, the department had several officers working double shifts or a sixth day because of retirements and a wave of officers who left for other departments because of a starting salary that is perceived to be too low.

Last year, City Council agreed to not only increase the rate of pay for starting officers but they also eliminated two steps to make it to the maximum salary, which is about $54,000 a year.

The city was supposed to add a fourth officer Tuesday but that officer instead took a job with a department in Cleveland, Lees said.

For Scott and Babos, Tuesday was a continuation of a tradition.

Scott is the son of Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Lt. Nick Timko and grandson of Jane Timko, who was a detective for the sheriff’s office. Scott’s aunt and Timko’s sister, Traci Timko Sabu, is an attorney for the city prosecutor’s office in Warren.

Timko said his son has been immersed in police work since the time he could walk. He pinned the badge on his son, who had worked as a patrolman in Sebring before being hired in Youngstown.

“Proud. Very proud,” Timko said when asked of his emotions. “This is awesome.”

Scott said he wanted to join the city police because he lives in Youngstown and he wants to protect the community he lives in.

Babos’ grandfather, Richard Brincko, was a city police officer for 15 years and was active in the Fraternal Order of Police. He said that heavily influenced his decision to join the department.

“This was a place I always wanted to work,” said Babos, who was an officer in Girard before coming to Youngstown.

Balog was an officer at Mill Creek MetroParks police before coming to Youngstown. He said he wanted to work for the city because of the change of pace working for a large department would bring.

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