Youngstown State University Police Department names new chief

The position needed to be filled after the department let go its chief after an internal investigation

Shawn Varso, YSU Police Chief


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown State University Police Department has named a new police chief.

Shawn Varso will be chief, effective May 1.

He will manage 24 full-time officers as well as 69 active, part-time commissioned officers.

Varso said his main goal is campus safety.

“It is a relatively safe campus. We take pride in the fact that we’re able to keep it safe. That’s a testament to our officers but not only our officers, but also the faculty, staff, and students of this university who help keep it safe.”

He said he won’t make any major change to campus safety policy because he’s happy with what YSU has in place now.

The university announced the appointment to campus on Monday after an extensive job search and campus interviews.

Varso is a Youngstown native, graduate of Youngstown State University, and 21-year veteran of the YSU Police Department, according to the university. He has been serving as interim chief for the past year.

“Chief Varso is an experienced, respected law enforcement officer with an outstanding record of service,” said Shannon Tirone, associate vice president for University Relations, which oversees YSU police. “We look forward to his continued leadership.”

Varso earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from YSU in 1995 and joined the YSU Police Department in 1996 as a part-time police officer, eventually working his way up to lieutenant in 2012.

“YSU and the YSU Police Department have been a part of my life for more than two decades. I am honored to be named to this position and look forward to working with my fellow officers, students, faculty, staff, administration, and the community to make the YSU campus a safe place to learn, work and live,” Varso said.

The position needed to be filled after former Chief John Beshara was let go following an investigation into his use of a company vehicle and a trip he took with another officer.

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