The board, whose goal will be to provide independent oversight and review of police practices within Akron, was approved by more than 60% of voters in the Ohio Midterm election.
Mayor Daniel Horrigan issued the following statement on the passage of Issue 10:
“Akron’s voters have made their voices heard and it’s clear they want a more permanent citizen police oversight board than what was recently established by Akron City Council. I respect the will of the voters and support the creation of the Citizens’ Police Oversight Board,” said Horrigan.
Calls for the board’s creation came in the wake of the officer-involved shooting of Jayland Walker.
Walker’s legal team said in a statement that the family of Jalyland is “overjoyed and humbled by the passage of Issue 10.”
The statement goes on to say: “Jayland’s family is proud to belong to the Akron community, a place where Americans used the democratic process to enact meaningful reform in honor of Jayland’s life and others who have lost their lives to police violence. Today is a day for optimism, though there is much work ahead. This is not the end of our effort to hold the city accountable for Jayland’s death. It’s just the beginning.”
The Akron chapter of the NAACP said in a statement, “The charter amendment is the culmination of years of discussions within the community about police accountability. Akron’s police auditor role was created in 2007. Since then, it has had many challenges: part-time staffing, a lack of access to information, and a lack of independence from the rest of city government. In recent years, there has been renewed focus on improving the police oversight role – both from within city government and across the community. The tragic circumstances surrounding the killing of Jayland Walker on June 27, 2022 underscored the need to move from discussion to action…”
Issue 10 dictates that Akron City Council must pass any required legislation by June 30, 2023, in order to create and implement the Board. Horrigan said city leaders aim to meet that deadline.
“We may have chosen different paths to get here, but as long as we’re unified in moving forward, I believe the formation of this Board can and will make Akron stronger,” said Horrigan.
Horrigan notes that nearly 60 applicants to be on the Citizen Oversight Board have already been filed after Council approved the creation of the board back in September. Horrigan said, those applications will be kept on file as the city decides the next steps in creating the permanent board.