Efforts underway to help Portage County deputy who was set on fire

RAVENNA, Ohio -- A Portage County Sheriff's deputy remains hospitalized, recovering from serious burns, after he was attacked with flaming liquid while trying to serve a warrant on Thursday.

Sheriff David Doak said Sgt. James Acklin is improving and is hoping to be able to go home early next week, although he still has a lengthy recovery ahead of him.

On Saturday, the sheriff told FOX 8 News that he's overwhelmed with the amount of people who are contacting him and his office to offer support.

Among those hoping to do whatever he can to help the deputy and his family is Will Rosch of the Big Creek Search Dog Team based in Concord. Acklin has served as both a safety officer and dog handler for the team.

"He was a detective when I first met him. He was working as a detective with the sheriff's department and we were contacted to come down to Portage County on a search and he kind of liked what we were doing and eventually joined up on our team," said Rosch.

"He was a super nice guy. Would do anything for anybody on the team or anybody in general. Sometimes I think he did too much for everybody and didn't take enough time for himself,” he added.

The team has started a GoFundMe page hoping to do what they can to help the deputy and his family.

"I see his left arm is pretty bad. Who knows how long it will be before he can go back to work or if he will go back to work because he's, I think, seven months from retirement," said Rosch.

The Portage County Sheriff has also invited people to bring gift cards for groceries, gas, and meals to his office in Ravenna, saying all of the contributions or donations need to be addressed directly to Sgt. Acklin and not the department.

As the support for the deputy grows, his accused attacker, Jay Edward Brannon, remains in the Portage County Jail. Brannon is charged with five counts of attempted murder and four additional counts of arson.

"It's bad enough that it happened. Thank God it wasn't worse and he will be able to recover and eventually move on from it," said Rosch, "It's the least we can, I mean, my God, the guy has put at least 20 years of his life to be a law enforcement officer and thank God he's still alive."

You can access the GoFundMe for Sgt. James Acklin, here.

Continuing coverage, here.

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