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Government & Politics

Akron Police Chief Voices Frustration at City Council Public Safety Meeting

Akron City Council YouTube page
Akron City Council members meet with Akron Police Chief Ken Ball over Zoom.

Akron City Council met over Zoom Monday introducing new working groups to reexamine the relationship between the city and its police department. They were joined by Akron's police chief who wasn't shy about voicing his frustration.

Police Chief Ken Ball seemed to catch some council members off guard when he expressed his dissatisfaction at the first meeting of the Reimagining Public Safety committee.

"I would say I would be thankful to be here but I'm not. I'm frustrated. This department is an exceptional police department. And I know that you all feel like there's a bigger role for law enforcement in other places that are not getting things right, but it’s not this place."

Ball said officers would participate in the program that covers department policies, training, transparency and new approaches to neighborhood safety.

But he called legislation passed by council earlier this year banning police chokeholds in the wake of George Floyd’s death "short sighted" and admonished council for not trying to understand the department better.

"This may not have been what you expected, but I'm at my tipping point."

Several council members responded that they do not want to defund the police and want to learn more from the department.

Requests for comment with both Akron Police Chief Ken Ball and Council President Margo Sommerville were not returned.