Two generations of Youngstown policemen reflect on careers

Youngstown Police Officer Jose Morales retires.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two generations of Youngstown policemen sat together Thursday afternoon in dad’s office — Jose Morales, one day away from retiring, and his son, also named Jose, four years into a career.

“Getting a chance to work with him has been pretty awesome,” said the younger Morales.

His father said he tried to talk Jose out of the job, because in his 34 years of being a Youngstown policeman, he has seen the worst.

The eldest Morales worked in homicide in the 1990s — a decade in which Youngstown recorded more than 500 murders.

“Sometimes, I would get called to two homicides a day, investigate two in one day,” he said. “Yeah, it was very busy; it was wild at that time.”

But, in November 2011 — despite his father’s advice — the younger Jose was sworn in, forgoing his plans to be a dentist, instead becoming one of the first classes of the new generation of Youngstown policemen.

Dad said it is a different world.

“Everybody in the general public liked the police or wanted the police around all the time. Now, with everything going on with the media and the problems that the police are having with the public, I think things are a lot different,” he said. “We don’t get the respect we used to get back then.”

The younger Jose works the East Side of Youngstown, as part of the police station’s new Community Policing Unit, and he tells his father that it is not that bad.

“The people I got out and talk to are really nice,” he said. “I love dealing with them. So, I haven’t really gotten the worst of it, not like the other cities out there.”

On Thursday, Jose Morales would get the pleasure of leaving work with his son — down the elevator and out the front door. For the young Jose, it is back to work tomorrow. For the elder Jose Morales, tomorrow the doors will close on a distinguished career.

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