Mayor Dan Horrigan Announces Plans For Public Engagement In Final Phase Of Akron Police Chief Search



Akron, Ohio, June 8, 2021 Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan made several announcements related to the final phase of the national search for a new chief of the Akron Police Department, which will be focused on community engagement—including releasing the names of the top four candidates, the date of a virtual community town hall, and the results of the City’s community survey.

The Chief of Police position became vacated with the retirement of Chief Ken Ball in February 2021. The national search was launched in early March, with the assistance of the consulting firm Ralph Andersen & Associates. Applications were accepted through late April, and initial vetting was done in May. The first round of interviews was completed by Mayor Horrigan and a diverse internal team of cabinet members last week, which resulted in the selection of the top four candidates.

“I am impressed with the pool of qualified candidates who applied to be our next Chief of Police,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “I am looking for an individual who has the experience, temperament, and integrity to drive this department forward. We face significant challenges related to violent crime and strained community trust, and we need a chief who places a primary value on transparency, inclusion, and crime prevention, and who is prepared to drive change where needed. They must be a listener and a leader at the highest level.”

The final four candidates are:

  • Eric David Hawkins, Chief of the Albany (NY) Police Department

  • Joseph P. Sullivan, recently retired Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia (PA) Police Department

  • Stephen L. Mylett, Chief of the Bellevue (WA) Police Department

  • Christopher A. Davis, Deputy Chief of the Portland (OR) Police Bureau

To help drive the priorities of the interviews and the final selection, Mayor Horrigan surveyed the community about the most pressing issues facing Akron with respect to policing. The survey was open between March 9, 2021, and April 23, 2021, and a total of 1,427 responses were collected.

When asked what priorities they thought the Akron Police Department should focus on, the top three results were: reducing police use of force; reducing racial disparities, and community-oriented policing. A large majority of respondents wanted an increased value placed on community relationships and de-escalation techniques used by officers. Participants would like APD to focus more on visibility, communication, and respect.

“Policing is a difficult profession – one that requires high levels of patience, compassion, and preparation for situations that vary from routine traffic accidents to active shooter scenarios,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan added. “We ask much of our police department, and in return, they are granted unique and important powers in the community. Data indicate that only 0.13% of interactions between citizens and the Akron Police result in any use of force, and only .024% of interactions result in any citizen complaint. However, it is clear from these survey results that our community wants to further reduce the number of confrontational interactions between citizens and police and wants to strengthen relationships with the APD – but that first requires trust. Our community wants a police force that looks like them, respects them, and protects them. And our next Chief of Police must understand, value, and meet the expectations of the citizens we serve.”

A copy of the survey report is available here.

To further engage the community on these issues, Mayor Horrigan will host a facilitated Community Town Hall with the top candidates on Thursday, June 17th at 5:30 PM. The event will be live-streamed on the City’s YouTube page (www.youtube.com/cityofakron). Residents interested in submitting questions should email them to APDChiefSearch@akronohio.gov or call the Mayor’s Action Center at 3-1-1 or (330) 375-2311 by Wednesday, June 16th at noon.

The Reporter Newspaper