PREPARING FOR SUMMER
POLICE STAFFING TO INCREASE WITH 7-POINT PLAN
|(01/11/07) - Akron Mayor Don
Plusquellic today released an innovative plan to combat crime during the Summer of 2007.
|"The simple fact is that crime goes up
during the summer when compared to other times of the year, exactly when we are challenged
by manpower shortages because police officers like to take summer vacations, too."
Plusquellic detailed a seven-point plan to attack neighborhood crime
that was endorsed by the command staff of the Akron Police Department including Chief
Click graph to enlarge.
see News Release
Enhancing "Hot Spot" patrol enforcement in areas where citizen complaints are
highest or where police see evidence of increased criminal activity, including the
purchase of video cameras to record activity in such areas;
Beefing-up juvenile curfew enforcement throughout the city.
Increasing visitation to addresses which are responsible for the most calls for service,
to determine if something other than police attention--- like social services, may be
needed to solve the root problem; and,
Expanding city-sponsored outreach programs between police and community watch groups,
churches, and other organizations to encourage citizens to report crimes and take a
greater role in ensuring their own safety. see News Release
- Bringing the Akron Police Department to its full budgeted strength of 487 officers as
soon as practicable;
- Authorizing 40 new, special patrol officers who will be hired on a part time basis from
mid- May through mid -September, primarily on Friday and Saturday nights when calls for
- Continuing targeted sweeps to reduce gun violence which in 2006 removed a significant
number of weapons from the street during a 4-month period;
The most novel approach announced by the Mayor is using
authority in the Akron City Charter to hire "special patrolmen." In studying the
number of calls for service last year, the Mayor noted that calls hit a yearly high of
14,000 in July at the same time police staffing levels were at their yearly low - - due
mainly to officers vacations. The lowest number of calls---9,000---came in February
of 2006 while police staffing was at its highest for the year.
"The use of seasonal employees is routinely used in the private
sector," said Plusquellic. "Major companies throughout the country who operate
under union contracts such as Teamsters, Steelworkers and others have for years hired
part-time vacation replacement workers and seasonal helpers to meet peak demand for
service and to allow for union workers to get needed time off."
"Managing resources in tight budgets is important," said the Mayor, "and
we already use seasonal help for lifeguards at our swimming pools, cutting grass, and snow
and ice removal so that we can target manpower exactly where we need it when we need
Special patrolmen will fortify Akrons public safety effort during the summer when
citizen calls increase 42% over winter months. "The special officers will not only
add to our ability to respond, but they will also make it possible for full-time officers
to take much needed time off during the busy summer months."
The position of special patrolmen will first be offered to current full-time Akron
police officers, then as follows: to Akron reserve officers, to full-time Summit County
Sheriffs deputies, and to any officers who work elsewhere including university
|"Because of the work that needs to be
done for purchasing equipment, hiring, training, developing rules and regulations, writing
ordinances and things of that nature," said Plusquellic, "it is important we
start the hiring process immediately so we can be ready before summer."
The Mayor also said that he expects a new class of 25-30 officers,
recruited last year, will start the police academy training program by March. While the
academy course runs 26 weeks, the City will also offer an abbreviated course specifically
designed for recruits who already have Ohio Peace Officer Training
|The F.O.P. Times is the
official monthly publication of the Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge #7. As the following
excerpt from their newsletter indicates, the City has difficulty in getting enough police
officers to work overtime when needed, especially in the summer.
Click image to enlarge.
|Academy (OPOTA) certification.
The new, shortened course would enable them to be put on the streets in six weeks, instead
of six months.
The mayor is also considering offering a free training
academy to individuals who have a willingness and interest in assisting their community in
being safer by joining the force as part-time officers.