YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Canfield’s assistant police chief said it takes a special person to become involved in law enforcement.
“You’re protecting people that can’t protect themselves, and you put yourselves in harm’s way to do that,” said Assistant Chief Scott Weamer.
If you are interested in getting a job as an officer, Youngstown State University has a full-service police academy to train the next group of officers.
The academy is run by Ed Villone, who started as a security guard at Strouss’ and wore a badge for 26 years. You don’t have to be a YSU student to attend the academy if it has room.
All applicants must pass drug and physical tests, plus meet other requirements to be trained.
“What we’re looking for are people with educations, ability to make good decisions, that are healthy living people,” said Villone.
Being fit and able to handle stress is important. The training comes in one semester — 695 hours. The teaching includes the criminal code, firearms, and every aspect of law enforcement including alcohol detection.
It prepares officers to walk the street and know what to look for.
“The hoops that people have to go through to become a police officer are 10 times the amount of a career in just about anything else,” said Villone.
Training is the key because patrolling neighborhoods to keep them safe is important. Officers aren’t chasing suspects every day.
Traffic stops and simple investigations are more common.
“It’s really about helping people and protecting. You see it on the side of police cars – ‘serve and protect,'” said Weamer. “Service is a big part of it.”
Being sworn in to uphold the law is the ultimate goal, but the first step is getting a Peace Officer’s Certificate.
“It qualifies you to get hired by a department,” said Villone. “Even though you may pass this course and take the state exam and pass it, that doesn’t mean that you’re the police.”
Before you can get hired, you’d still have to pass civil service exams. Plus, departments may require applicants to pass a lie detector or physical fitness test.