The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Breaking News

Local News

July 6, 2014

Older cop, younger cop

Retired sergeant, patrolman talk job then, now

SHARON — The sergeant who retired more than a decade ago agrees with the patrolman in mid-career on the police force in Sharon. Technology and the local economy have changed the way they do their job but keeping the community safe can occasionally be dangerous for the law enforcement professionals who do the work.

Dave Gregg began working for Sharon Police Department shortly after his discharge from the Army in 1968. Sharon’s population was about 25,000 and the 40-member force was big enough in those days to dispatch two patrolmen in each cruiser.

Mark Hynes came to Sharon four years ago and works as a patrolman. He has backup when he needs it but he usually patrols alone in his cruiser as his co-workers do.

The married father of two young children has 16 years of experience with several Trumbull County police departments. He also had some tactical training at the FBI training center in Quantico, Va., while he was a member of the Mahoning Valley Crisis Response Team.

Rookies like Gregg was more than 40 years ago walked foot patrols through the downtown district.

“If you were on afternoon turn, you walked for eight hours and you checked doors,” he said. “You did a lot of walking in the downtown area until you got some people under you. It wasn’t very exciting.”

Then as now, the work had a routine built around radio calls but there was no 911 countywide dispatching of first responders to emergencies.

During his career that saw him promoted to sergeant supervising shifts and occasionally working as a dispatcher, Gregg said he and other police understood that a risk of danger came with the badge they wore.

“The big things didn’t happen that often but danger was always there,” he said. “You’d go out on a call where there was a fight and when you tried to break it up, they’d call the family in. When it was all over, sometimes there was a gun on the ground.”

Gregg said computer technology and cell phones that link police to databases of useful background information weren’t available for most of his career.

“Our technology was a typewriter and a fingerprinting kit,” he said, laughing. “Nobody then really knew much about what computers could do and nobody had heard of a cell phone.”

Now, a suspect’s history and such details as their previous involvement in drugs or gun crimes can give responding police a heads up on potentially dangerous calls.

Police keep in touch with each other on cell phones.

Technology has its uses but Hynes said dealing with people is as challenging now as it was for earlier generations of police. That’s partly because people they deal with are often unpredictable.

“You don’t know what they’re thinking and you don’t know what their intentions are,” he said. “You don’t know what their mental stability is, so the unknown is part of the danger. When we go into a house, I don’t know what could be hiding around the corner or what they know that I don’t.”

Asked whether his job is more dangerous than policing used to be, Hynes said he didn’t look at the issue that way because he wasn’t working in those years.

“Statistics might show that it’s more dangerous than it was 20 or 30 years ago but I don’t have a frame of reference from 30 years ago,” he said.

Gregg said he thinks the risks are about the same.

“You’re still doing the same job if you’re working today,” he said. “You’re still arresting unwilling people who might want to fight. You’re taking just as much of a chance now as then.”


Text Only
Local News
  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story