COLUMBIANA - The city police department welcomed a new member this week with the hiring of part-time officer Michael Manis, who also works part-time for Coitsville Township police in Mahoning County.
Manis was raised in Boardman and is a Youngstown State University graduate who served one active tour of duty in Iraq for the Army. He is the recipient of the good conduct medal and currently holds the rank of sergeant in the Army Reserves.
Police Chief Tim Gladis said he is confident in Manis' abilities and believes he will give the department enough coverage even while working part-time for another department.
Part-time officers in Columbiana will be working less than 30 hours a week in anticipation of the health care changes included in President Barack Obama's reforms, the chief said.
The hours are being lowered since employees working 30 or more hours will be considered full-time and eligible for health care under the reform.
City employees are currently considered full-time if they work 35 hours or more and the city is trying to cut its healthcare costs.
Gladis said the department relies on part-time officers to fill the void when full-time officers need a break, and breaks are needed since the line of work is often stressful.
The department trains part-time and auxiliary officers with the expectation they will one day be full-time, he added.
Municipal Attorney Daniel Blasdell administered the oath of office and Gladis presented Manis with his badge during the City Council meeting on Tuesday.
In other police matters Gladis said the department is looking to outfit the city's three substations with video surveillance.
He said the recent theft from the one on the south side showed the need. It was not the first time someone has stolen from the substations, but it was the first time video cameras were used to aid in the investigation, and the footage proved to be an integral part in capturing one of the two men believed to be responsible, he said.
The department reached out to YESCO for the two motion sensing cameras used there last week. The company notified police as soon as the cameras detected motion, and the footage showed two men were reaching through the fence to pull the wires through and cut into smaller pieces.
Gladis said they are looking to buy cameras that will monitor the substations 24 hours a day seven days a week, with direct contact to the dispatch center for immediate response.
In the long run he hopes to have cameras installed at Firestone Park and other areas, he added.
"Oftentimes what is taken is more costly than surveillance," he said.
He said the electric department took the theft "very, very personal" and could immediately tell when something wasn't right.
The department is also looking to purchase bullet proof vests to replace the ones officers are currently using. A $2,800 grant has already been approved to cover half of the cost and the vests are less expensive than the ones purchased previously, he noted in the department's monthly activity report for September.
Police made 10 criminal arrests, issued 45 traffic citations and investigated 20 traffic crashes last month. Auxiliary officers donated 301.5 hours, with 35 hours on patrol with paid officers, 70 hours on special details and the rest assisting with community events, according to the report.