Akron resident has plan to bring community and police together

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AKRON, Oh. - Police in Akron say that since the ambush of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, their department has been overwhelmed with gestures of support.

"Almost daily when we come into our roll call room there's cookies and cakes and all kinds of different expressions of support from people, from the public all over the place we are touched by this," said Akron Police Captain Daniel Zampelli.

"We know that the support is out there. Every one of my officers on my shift, I surveyed them one day in roll call and asked them in the last week 'how many of you have had somebody come up and say that they appreciate you or thank you for your service?' And every hand in roll call went up. There were probably fifteen officers in that roll call room and every hand went up," he added.

But James Thomas, a young community activist says he knows there are pockets of distrust within the community and he wants to help bridge that divide.

"I think that all cops are trying to save a life if they could, you know, but sometimes like I said, some of them take their authority to a new level," said Thomas.

Thomas has been communicating with the police department trying to organize a bike ride he calls a "Ride for Peace" in which officers and people from the community can ride side by side in a very public display of unity.

"I'd like to see a whole bunch of people from the neighborhood come together with the police department and the fire department and join forces and help each other out," said Thomas.

Police say they are very happy to participate, saying they want the same thing.

"We are a part of this community. We live here, we work here, we have family here. Our children go to school here, so we are part of this Akron community this greater community," said Zampelli.

"Sometimes police work is ugly, I mean there are things that just aren't pretty in police work and when those few incidents occur we have that support from the community," said Zampelli.

Thomas will be inviting anyone in the public who wants to participate to ride along when it happens, and he is very serious about his intent.

"I really want the violence to slow down you know, not just slow down, but stop"

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