Shawn Varso named YSU police chief

Shawn Varso
Shawn Varso, a native of Youngstown, graduate of Youngstown State University and a 21-year veteran of the Youngstown State University Police Department, has been named chief of police effective May 1.


YSU announced the appointment to campus today after an extensive job search and campus interviews.

“Chief Varso is an experienced, respected law enforcement officer with an outstanding record of service,” said Shannon Tirone, associate vice president for University Relations, which oversees YSU police. “We look forward to his continued leadership.”

Varso, who has served as interim chief of the department for the past year, said: “YSU and the YSU Police Department have been a part of my life for more than two decades; I am honored to be named to this position and look forward to working with my fellow officers, students, faculty, staff, administration and the community to make the YSU campus a safe place to learn, work and live.”

The YSU Police Department has 24 full-time commissioned officers, certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. The department, with a budget of $3 million, also has 69 active, part-time commissioned officers, eight full- and part-time dispatchers and 18 student employees.

Varso earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from YSU in 1995, joined the YSUPD in 1996 as a part-time police officer and then as in a full-time capacity the next year. He was promoted to sergeant in 2008 and lieutenant in 2012. He was named interim chief of police in April 2016.

He has undergone extensive training, including FBI Basic Crisis Negotiator School and the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. He has coordinated regular training for crisis negotiators of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, served as a firearms instructor, worked as intelligence liaison officer with Ohio Homeland Security, coordinated ALICE crisis response training on campus, managed the department’s property and evidence rooms and coordinated compliance with the federal CLERY act. He is past president of the YSU Fraternal Order of Police and is currently a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.