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  Trustees Approve Retention, Hiring Bonuses For The Police Department  
  Chief Werth: “A Step Towards Keeping Us Competitive”:   November 17, 2022 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      Meeting on Monday night, Boardman Township Trustees Larry Moliterno, Tom Costello and Brad Calhoun unanimously approved payments of retention and hiring bonuses for the 61-member Boardman Police Department and its dispatchers.
      Funding for the retention and hiring bonuses will be provided from a $628,358 grant from the Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Program that was awarded to the township in August.
      According to the grant application, some $435,200 is set aside for “retention bonuses” for Boardman Police Department officers and the staff of 15 persons who work in the township’s dispatching department. The bonuses will be paid of over a two-year period and range from a $3,500 yearly bonus for senior members of the department to $2,000 for lesser-serving officers. The township’s dispatchers will receive yearly bonuses between $2,400 annually to $1,500 annually depending on their term of service.
      Earlier this year, Trustees Brad Calhound, Larry Moliterno and Tom Costello approved bonues of $1,250 for all township employees, using funds provided by the American Rescue Act.
      “The intent of the grant award is to assist in recruiting and retaining employees in critical law enforcement positions, so as to maintain staffing to address violent crime enforcement initiatives in the community,” Police Chief Todd Werth said.
      According to the grant application, violence in the Boardman community has increased since the pandemic began.
      “Boardman Township has not been immune to the effects of the national increases in violent crime.
      “During the COVID-19 pandemic, our jurisdiction experienced an increase in violent crimes similar to what has occurred nationally.
      “Specifically in Boardman Township, felonious assaults have increased 33% from 2019 to 2020; rape was up 28% from 2019 to 2021; robberies increased 17% from 2019 to 2020; and aggravated burglaries increased 85% from 2019 to 2021,” says the grant application.
      Additionally, the application notes “Boardman, like so many other communities, has had its share of difficulties during the pandemic.
      “From 2019 to 2021, there was a nearly 200% increase in the amount of drug overdoses and a nearly 400% increase in overdose deaths in
      Boardman Township.”
      The bonuses for new hires could offset Boardman Township’s relatively low, hourly wage for new police officers, currently at $19.35.
      By comparison, new police officers in Austintown Township receive an hourly wage of $23.07, and in Canfield, the hourly wage for new hires in that police department is $26.36. New hires in the Youngstown Police Department earn $21 an hour.
      Chief Werth said the retention and hiring bonuses are “a step towards keeping us competitive.”
      In another police-related matter, Trustees approved a purchase order for $167,431 for four utility vehicles, Ford Explorers. Cost of the vehicles was some $30,000 more that had been previously approved for the vehicles, Chief Werth said.
      He explained the price increase noting the Ford Motor Co. cancelled “2002 build-outs, requiring the purchase to be resubmitted...with the increase in the purchase price.”
 
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