By Jessica Stamp
At Youngstown State University, the police department hired four new officers into their unit. YSU chief of police Shawn Varso hopes the increased number of officers will bring a new viewpoint to the department while giving some of the existing officers a break.
“With the addition of these officers … it gives some of the other officers a little bit of a break [from] having to work all the time,” Varso said.
The department has previously been short-staffed, but after hiring the four new officers, it brings the number back up to what it was originally supposed to be: 21 full-time officers.
The new officers go through a training program that is 13 weeks long, consisting of existing officers rotating to mentor and offer different perspectives.
Varso said the new officers can hopefully give a new experience perspective and refreshing outlook to the department.
Criminal justice graduate Haley Marshburn decided to become an officer at the university because she wanted to make a difference in her community and help people.
“[By] being younger, I’m around the age of the students right now, so … if they have any questions. They might feel more comfortable coming up to me,” Marshburn said.
Marshburn also feels that female students might be more at ease when approaching a female officer.
Coming to work as an officer at YSU will be a different experience for Chelsea Wolfe and Jeff Marsolo, who both have past work experience at other departments.
Wolfe, another criminal justice graduate of YSU, joined the police department after looking at the benefits. She said she hopes to stay as an officer for a long time and looks forward to building relationships. Due to Wolfe’s previous work experience, she feels she knows how to connect with people and handle certain situations that may arise.
“One of my jobs had a lot to do with talking to people and dealing with people, not only in frantic ways, but different people with different backgrounds and people with different job histories,” Wolfe said.
When it comes to helping the students, Wolfe agrees with Marshburn that female students might feel more comfortable talking to them about any issues because of their gender.
For the past four years, Marsolo worked at the Mahoning County Jail. Compared to his previous job, he said he had more of a positive experience at YSU.
“Definitely more positive here … more just friendly with students and staff on campus but also benefited from learning just to talk to different people,” Marsolo said.
Marsolo feels working at YSU will help him to further expand his ability to talk to distinctive individuals and to make campus feel safer.
The new officers are excited to be working at YSU and hope to connect more with students across campus and to create a positive experience for all.