Police add full-time, part-time officers


Salem Police Patrolman Matthew Cochran stands at attention as his wife Angela pins on his badge during his swearing-in as a full-time officer Thursday morning. Mayor John Berlin administered the oath. An East Liverpool native, Cochran joined the department three years ago as a part-timer and will take the place of Patrolman Steve LaRosa on the road. LaRosa has been named handler for Salem’s second K-9 unit and will begin training next month with his canine partner. (Photo courtesy Salem Police)

SALEM — Patrolman Matthew Cochran moved to full-time with the Salem Police Department Thursday after biding his time for three years on the part-time roster.

“I’ve been very impressed with watching him grow as a police officer,” Chief J.T. Panezott said. “Very professional, very active.”

The East Liverpool native graduated from East Liverpool Christian School and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Kent State University. In December 2013, he graduated from the Youngstown State University Police Academy and joined the Salem Police Department as a part-time officer in March 2014.

He also worked part-time at the Lisbon and Perry Township police departments.

Cochran was on the list of names provided to Panezott by the Salem Civil Service Commission from the last police officer exam. The chief said he has a great work ethic, noting that every time he’s been asked to fill a shift, he always said yes. He turned down full-time employment somewhere else because he wanted to work for Salem.

“He’s well-liked in the department,” the chief said.

Mayor John Berlin did the honor of administering the oath of office to Cochran as a full-time officer, while Cochran’s wife Angela pinned on his badge. Cochran’s first full-time shift starts Monday.

Berlin also administered the oath to Patrolman Douglas Osberg, the new part-time officer for the department, taking Cochran’s spot. A West Branch High School graduate, he completed his police officer training in 2013 at the Kent State University Police Academy. A United States Marine Corps combat veteran, he served two tours in Iraq.

“We’re happy to have another veteran,” Panezott said, adding that he’s “a very well-trained officer.”

Osberg, of Salem, works part-time for the Smith Township Police Department and also serves with the Alliance Special Response Team. He also served as a part-time officer for Perry Township Police.

The spots opened up due to the city government agreeing to get a second K-9 unit up and running after the Salem Community Foundation offered $65,000 for the cost of the dog, training and vehicle properly equipped for a K-9 officer. City council agreed to cover the cost of an additional officer for the road since one officer would be moving to the K-9 handler position. Patrolman Steve LaRosa was named as the handler and will attend training with the new dog in March.

The department’s first dog, K-9 Simon, joined the department last year and took to the streets in August with handler Patrolman Mike Garber.