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Akron police recruiting wraps up, but not community outreach
WKSU is starting an occasional series this afternoon on Akron's efforts to recruit and train officers given today's often-tense national climate
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
The recruiting team, including Rick Farwell (left) and Justin Morris manned tables at the malls, and traveled for job fairs as far away as Detroit.
Courtesy of M.L. Schultze
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Today is the deadline for people to apply for at least a dozen openings in the Akron Police Department.

Given the national state of police-community relations, Akron has focused especially on recruiting in the African-American community and among women.  One of the team of recruiters, Rick Farwell, says that’s just part of the department’s effort to improve relations throughout  Akron.

 

LISTEN: Farwell on more work in the community

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“Our whole sector’s been going to meetings with our councilman -- trying to find ways that we can integrate ourselves into the community more with the youth, some of our community leaders. So we don’t have this tarnished image as all police officers have right now. It doesn’t matter what police department you’re on.” 

Akron’s police force is about 80 percent white. The city’s population is nearly 40 percent minority, including black, Hispanic, Asian and mixed race.

More on Akron's recruiting efforts:

Today, Akron wraps up a month-long recruiting effort for a new class of police officers. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on an effort that is key to trying to make the department more reflective of the city.

LISTEN: The recruiting message
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(0:53)

A team of six recruiters – black and white, men and women, vets and younger officers -- spent months traveling to job fairs, colleges, military bases, churches, community centers and even malls – in Northeast Ohio and well beyond – to recruit candidates.

Treva Mathews is a 24-year-old on the team. She  joined the department less than two years ago. She acknowledges the recruiting comes against a national backdrop of tension between parts of the African-American community and police.  She says her response is simple.

“If you want to see a change, be the change. If you think something is wrong with your community, be someone to change that.”

People from as far away as Toledo and Columbus traveled to Akron this week for informational meetings.  The city has a dozen openings, but expects retirements will create more.

 
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