Warren welcomes two officers to police force

WARREN – Two former Braceville police officers were sworn in Friday morning at Warren City Hall to begin their new law enforcement positions in the Warren Police Department.

Lance Adkins, 30, of Bazetta, and Adam Chinchic, 23, of Warren, are the city’s newest police officers.

Police Chief Eric Merkel said adding youthful officers is especially important as older, more experienced officers are retiring.

“We had seven officers leave the department so far in 2013 and expect another four to leave in 2014,” Merkel said.

The police chief hopes the city will hire at least one more officer before the end of the year. He also would like the department to add another four officers in 2014.

The department has 63 police officers, including the chief.

Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said the city will maintain as large a force as its budget will allow.

“We’ve been able to maximize the officers we have with the creation of Chief Merkel’s Street Crime Unit,” Cantalamessa said.

The city recently received a $250,000 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant. The money will initially be used to pay for two school resource officers already in place, but ultimately the grant frees up funding for two additional patrol officers.

The money is part of $6.8 million the U.S. Department of Justice gave to fight crime in northern Ohio. The grant includes three years of salary and benefits for officers.

Overall, the COPS office funded awards to 263 cities and counties, aimed at creating 937 law enforcement positions. More than $125 million will be awarded nationally, including nearly $45 million to fund 356 new school resource officer positions, the release states.