AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Akron Police on Monday kicked off a campaign they hope will attract at least 25 new recruits to the department at a time when the actions and decisions of officers are under a microscope, impacting recruiting and retention across the country.
“We are looking for people who want to do a good job for the citizens of the City of Akron. We are looking for a diverse population to match the diversity here in the city,” said acting Police Chief Mike Caprez.
“It’s been a challenging time across the country for law enforcement agencies to recruit people, we had a lot of success last time with our campaign, and we expect to have a lot of success this time,” he added.
The goal is to attract a diverse group of recruits that mirrors the City of Akron.
People like Mitchell Lockhart, 24, of Copley who says he has always known he wanted to be a police officer and hopes to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
“You get to help other people. You get to show other people what you are about and the things that you do and how you actually interact with other people. Officers are there to help. They are not actually these bad people that sometimes they may be put out to look like,” said Lockhart.
The recruiting effort kicks off as the trial of Minnesota officer Derek Chauvin wraps up, when other high-profile officer related shootings are getting attention around the country.
“What I would say to people who have a concern is that we welcome the opportunity to prove ourselves to the community every day. We cherish that, and we know it’s our job to show them that we have a good police force here,” said Caprez.
Recruitment officers say people who might consider a law enforcement career should not be distracted by the scrutiny.
“In this day and age the headlines are everywhere for someone that may be scared to apply just for that reason, kind of difficult to apply for that reason. I would say don’t be nervous about it we have great training here and we come to work every single day and try to make a difference,” said officer Drew Fite.
The city has some requirements that include no felony convictions or anything else that would prohibit a candidate from carrying a gun.
Attributes for good candidates would include the ability to read and write, the ability to communicate well in a stressful situation.
The department trains candidates and even pays them a salary during their training.
“We want to attract a very diverse, very highly motivated and just competent candidates that we can,” said officer Kyle Cunningham.
“This is a tough job. It requires your full attention. It requires competency in several different areas. If you have those things we want you here,” said Caprez.