AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – For the first time since a grand jury’s decision not to charge eight officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker, and the creation of a citizens police oversight committee, the city of Akron has announced it is recruiting new police officers.

The effort seeks to find candidates to fill an academy class by this fall with no stated number of recruits in mind.

Sgt. Mike Murphy is overseeing the effort.

“This job is definitely not for everyone. It takes a special person, a special skillset for someone to have the desire to be under that type of scrutiny every day, but at the end of the day, it’s really about helping people and we are out there trying to make a difference,” said Murphy.

The effort comes following demonstrations against the police officers’ actions in the Walker shooting, as well as calls for transparency and reform.

It also comes as virtually every major police department around the state is challenged with filling vacancies.

“We are competing here in the state of Ohio indirectly against other agencies and there are a lot of great agencies in this state. We believe also by bias or otherwise that we have a lot of things to offer a client,” said Lt. Michael Miller.

Akron is offering incentives that include a $2,000 sign-on bonus.

“We raised our age limit up to 45. We now have lateral opportunities for folks who already have OPOTA certifications or police officers from other agencies, combined with what we are trying to accomplish as an agency to attract the type of people again that have the heart to serve people,” said Miller.

“Serving the residents of this city as a police officer is among the most challenging and rewarding calls to public service,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan in a statement released on Wednesday.

 “We expect our officers to be of the highest caliber and to have a passion for public service and the residents of Akron. They are the frontline ambassadors in the neighborhoods – providing direct assistance to residents in need and keeping our community safe. We are looking to hire officers who reflect the citizens of our community. Applicants should be enthusiastic about improving the Akron community, prepared to meet the demands of an evolving and dynamic law enforcement environment, and have a public service mindset,” Horrigan added.

In a recruiting video, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said he hopes to find recruits whose diversity match the diversity of the city of Akron with respect to ethnicity, gender and more.

“We are looking to build this police department to the future,” said Mylett. “I am proud of the men and women of this police department. I think it’s an outstanding police department.”

The next exam is planned for the fall of 2023. Once established, the eligible list generated from the test will remain in place for 18 months.  

Historically, the city has hired multiple classes of officers from an eligibility list over that period.

For more details about the recruiting effort, the city encourages candidates to visit its recruiting website.