YOUNGSTOWN - When Rose Marsco joined the Youngstown State University Police Department 26 years ago, her fellow officers didn't appear to notice that she is a woman, she said.
She said she likes that.
Marsco, a sergeant who will be sworn in next week as the department's first female lieutenant, said the men she worked with treated her as a fellow police officer first, not as a woman, and that made it easier for her to do her job and start her career.
Tribune Chronicle / Joe Gorman
Youngstown State University police Sgt. Rose Marsco is shown with one of the department’s new cruisers. Marsco recently passed the lieutenant exam and will be sworn in next week as the department’s first female lieutenant.
''There really was no gender,'' Marsco said. ''You were a police officer first and a female second.''
She said the standard she was expected to follow was the same.
''We're expected to respond and evaluate and make the decisions needed just like our male counterparts,'' Marsco said.
Marsco said she does not dwell much on her gender when doing her job, but she does feel gratified to reach a milestone.
''I do feel honored that I'm breaking through that glass for others,'' Marsco said.
She said she got interested in being a police officer when an older brother of hers was taking criminal justice courses at YSU. He would bring his books home and she would look at them.
That brother is now a respiratory therapist although both tried to get police jobs and took entry level exams across the area. She was able to get on the force at YSU. She said she likes her job because it is unpredictable.
''There's always something new every day,'' Marsco said. ''The tasks at hand, you never really know. You just have to be prepared.''
YSU has three other women on the force.
John Beshara, chief of the YSU department, said Marsco is a good leader who knows when the officers she's working with need guidance and when they should be able to make decisions on their own.
''Rose takes a very balanced approach,'' Beshara said.
Beshara also said Marsco is very dedicated, and people who are not police officers do not often see the sacrifice that comes with a promotion.
Officers who are promoted once again fall back to the bottom of the pile at their new rank when it comes to seniority, so they typically work more nights and weekends and holidays until they accumulate more years and people in front of them leave.
Marsco said she thinks it's important that the university's police force be as diverse as the university it was created to serve and protect.
''To have that diverse work force is important,'' Marsco said.