Police career begins in Air Force
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series published each Monday between Memorial Day and Veterans Day honoring local veterans. To nominate a veteran, email metro editor Marly Kosinski at email@example.com.
By GUY VOGRIN
WARREN — Warren police Capt. Jeffrey Cole remembers summer days in the late 1970s sitting on his dad’s front porch on Parkview Avenue on Youngstown’s South Side watching people streaming in and out of the popular Idora amusement Park.
It was during this time that Cole, now 58, had been impressed with the U.S. Army during a trip to Fort Knox, Ky., to attend older brother David’s military graduation ceremony.
“I remember a drill sergeant yelling out ‘Come here’ and about 30 people came a running,” Cole laughed. “That sold me.”
After Cole graduated from Youngstown South High School in June 1981, he entered the delayed entry program of the Ohio Army National Guard.
A few months later, Cole found himself at Fort Dix, New Jersey, for basic training and then to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, for further training in administration. During his time in the National Guard, Cole said he worked at the old Armory along Victoria Road in Austintown.
“But I still wanted to go on active duty,” said Cole, who had maintained a job in a grocery store while serving in the National Guard. “However, the Army wanted me to go into the infantry, and I didn’t want any part of that.”
In 1982 an Air Force recruiter caught Cole’s attention with talk about being a military police officer. In July 1982, he was off to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
That was the beginning of a 10-year career in the Air Force and a 40-year career as a police officer for Cole, who now commands emergency services for Warren’s finest.
Cole’s Air Force service took him around the world, with stops at McClellan Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif.; Suwan Air Force Base in South Korea; Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; Osan Air Force Base in South Korea; Misawa Air Force Base in Japan; and Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, N.M.
“I spent three years in New Mexico, my last stop before going back into civilian life back home,” Cole said.
Before getting a police job in the public sector, Cole enrolled into the old MTC Police Academy, which is now operated by Kent State University.
After the academy, Cole went literally down the street to get his first job, part time as a Mill Creek Park police officer.
“I then took the test in Warren and was hired full time in 1993 under then-Chief Thomas Hutson,” Cole said.
Like his military career, Cole saw many stops along the way — a year in the patrol division, three years in narcotics, seven years investigating major crimes as a detective and five years as internal affairs sergeant.
“I even supervised school resource officers for two years,” he said.
As a lieutenant, Cole also served as turn commander for day shift and then received an assignment to take over the emergency services division.
In December 2018, Cole was promoted to captain.
But as the years roll by, Cole credits the military for making him what he is today.
“Everything that I do as a police officer and as an adult is based on what I was taught in the military from having polished shoes to having integrity,” Cole said.
Cole can advise young people who may find themselves in unpleasant situations in their local community.
“It can be a way out, but the military is a future a career of anything you want to make it,” he said.
SERVICE BRANCH: Ohio Army National Guard, U.S. Air Force
MILITARY HONORS: Three overseas tour ribbons; Air Force training ribbons; Noncommissioned Officers professional military education ribbon; Longevity ribbon; Outstanding Unit Award ribbon; National Defense ribbon; Good Conduct ribbon; Air Force Commendation Award ribbon.
OCCUPATION: Warren Police Department captain
FAMILY: Married for 15 years to Sharon, a Youngstown Police Department detective. They have three adult children.