Akron: Beefing Up Patrols, Changing Testing Methods

Akron, OH - The city of Akron will see more police officers patrolling the streets.

This, after Mayor Don Plusquellic said the city will hire more officers and change the way it schedules the testing of officers.

19 Action News has learned that job posting and recruiting will be done every other March - starting next year.

AKRON...Mayor Don Plusquellic told reporters today the city is hiring more police officers and changing the way it schedules the testing of officers.

Eleven more officers will be hired from the current list of eligible candidates. The same list has already produced 39 police trainees who will graduate this Friday, August 24, and begin patrolling our streets next Monday. The 11 new recruits will bring the force to 487.

Plusquellic also announced that job posting and recruiting will be done every other March, beginning next year. For years, the City has based testing schedules on the number of upcoming vacancies it expected to have to fill.

"That method," said the mayor "is unreliable for a variety of reasons. By starting the process in even-numbered years, we will be able to maintain a more current, running list of eligible candidates for these jobs."

The new job-posting schedule is also more predictable for those interested in becoming Akron police officers. The next three postings for the police exam will take place in March 2008, March 2010 and March 2012.

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety George Romanoski said it takes 15 months from the time the City posts notice for the positions until the time the officers who take that exam could hit the streets. Testing in even-numbered years ensures newly trained officers on the streets every other June (in odd-numbered years).

"We recruit and test, and then those who make it go through background checks, psychological testing and training," said Romanoski. "It is a deliberate, careful process."

With Mayor Plusquellic's new practice, those recruited in 2008 will be ready for duty by June of 2009.

The 11 officers the mayor announced today as new recruits will hit the streets in June of next year.

"This is much less of a random process than before," said Plusquellic.

Akron will also be opening up its training facilities to potential officers for other communities. The mayor told his news conference today that he will offer training to surrounding communities for up to a dozen positions. Romanoski said the cost of training is roughly $3,000-$3,500 per trainee.