Release Date: December 7,2020
Mayor Horrigan Introduces Plan to Hire 12 New Police Officers Focused on Dramatically Enhancing Community Connections and Reducing Gun Violence in Akron’s Neighborhoods
New positions to be 100% funded through COPS Hiring Grant for three years
Akron, Ohio, December 7, 2020 — Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan submitted legislation to accept grant funds to hire 12 new officers in the Akron Police Department. Under the proposal, this group of officers will be specifically focused on intercepting gun violence, increasing coordination with partner agencies, and engaging directly with businesses, residents and community groups to better understand neighborhood needs and collaboratively address concerns. “Five officers will be joining the Neighborhood Response Team, two will be joining the Gun Violence Reduction Team (GVRT), two will be joining the Community Relations office, and three officers will be deputized by the FBI in the Safe Streets Program.”
“With the addition of five new officers, our Neighborhood Response Team unit will be spending a minimum of 25% of their work day or more, walking, riding bicycles and talking to the community,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “This is the greatest commitment to proactive community engagement in the unit’s history. Not only will this deepen connections and increase information sharing between officers and neighborhood leaders, it will also make officers more visible and accessible to businesses and residents on a regular basis.”
Additionally, the GVRT will concentrate on hot spots of gun-related crime and use targeted, data-driven methods to get illegal guns off the streets address gun violence in Akron neighborhoods.
“As we mark a recent single-year high in the number of homicides, we are redoubling our efforts to keep our neighborhoods safe and interrupt the cycle of violence,” Mayor Dan Horrigan continued. “I want to thank Chief Ball and the dedicated officers doing this work every day for their tireless efforts to protect our community throughout this uniquely challenging year. As the stress of this pandemic continues to weigh on our residents, these additional officers will increase our capacity to prevent and solve these crimes and to safeguard our neighborhoods by capturing illegal weapons and arresting the most dangerous offenders.”
These new hires are made possible through a federal 2020 Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Hiring Program grant totaling $3,957,780 over a three-year period. No matching local funds are required. The 2020 COPS Hiring Program provides funding to law enforcement agencies to hire law enforcement officers in an effort to increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.
The legislation will be presented to Akron City Council’s Public Safety committee at 2:15 PM today, and is expected to be voted on by Council within the next two weeks.