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Government & Politics

A Diverse Team of Officers Recruits Akron's Next Police Force

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Akron is again trying to find enough police recruits to keep its force at its authorized strength of 455 over the next two years -- when a number of officers are expected to retire. 

A week from this Friday is the deadline to sign up for the entrance exam, and a team of four Akron officers has been hitting gyms, barbershops, schools and social media to find men and women with an interest.

Sgt. Mike Murphy acknowledges the atmosphere nationally has made recruiting harder.

“Obviously there are challenges, because of the things that happened nationally that has an effect here locally as well. But what we tell people is that they can be a part of what they want to build the police department into.”

The recruiting team includes two women and three African-American officers. They say a police force that more closely resembles the makeup of the community better serves both the community and the force.

Officer Kim Williams joined her hometown police force three years ago.

williams_women_and_diversity.mp3
Williams on diversity

“You know I’ve been telling a lot of female applicants that we’re good at this job. I mean, we need everybody. We need this police department to look like its community. We need everybody with different skill levels, different education levels, different backgrounds, all sorts of that, because we work as a team.”

Akron’s authorized police strength is 455, and like many police departments in Ohio, it’s facing a challenge because of retirements.

The recruiting drive wraps up at midnight on May 26.

Editor's note: The first name of Sgt. Murphy was incorrect in the original version of this story.