Akron Public Schools rejects current APD Lieutenant due to troubling disciplinary record

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 11:13 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Akron Public Schools is making some changes to how they hire part-time police officers after an officer with a tumultuous disciplinary record ended up on the school board’s agenda.

Mark Williamson with Akron Public Schools told 19 News that Lieutenant Brian Simcox’s name should’ve never ended up on the agenda as a candidate in the first place. He said HR rejected his application after they found out about an incident from 2018.

19 News obtained the lieutenant’s personnel file and found out that in the past six years, he was investigated six times and found to have violated the department’s anti-harassment policy four times.

“I don’t feel like any of us should feel forced to rush down here after work I’m very dirty and exhausted, but I wanted to know why are we just finding out that these people of very bad repute are about to be rewarded with a pretty sweet job around our kids,” one parent said at the meeting.

Several parents were furious when they learned Lieutenant Brian Simcox’s name was on the Akron Public School Board’s agenda last month for approval as a police liaison officer.

“In this instance, community members had noticed that a huge potential problem was buried in a meeting agenda, and I don’t think it should’ve come to that point,” said parent Keith Friend.

The district said that was a mistake and they caught it before the meeting and took it off the agenda, but admitted what happened revealed a weakness in the system.

“There’s deeper work that needs to be looked into about who we bring around our children about who we contract and give our money to and the fact that it got as far as the agenda is the flag and we need to take it all the way back and look at what happened,” said parent Fran Wilson.

Williamson said there is no plan right now for the district to start doing personal background checks on these kinds of candidates.

“I feel that you guys should be looking at the vetting process more as well and that admin should’ve looked at it more since placing it on the agenda for you guys so that needs to be more supervised and this is why parents like myself decided to take my children out of APS,” said parent Lilian Lawrence.

19 News learned Simcox was recommended to the district by an Akron police officer. The one change the district is making is that HR will interview each candidate after they’re recommended.

“It brings into question like, why are we trusting you guys with that and who’s recommending people like that to these positions,” a parent asked.

Simcox was demoted from captain to lieutenant in 2018 after it came to light that he took a nude photo off the cellphone of a woman he arrested and shared it with officers, a firefighter, and even a tow truck driver at a crime scene. Later sharing it with his own family members. He was found in violation of the department’s anti-harassment and sexual harassment policies.

He was suspended for 10 days in 2020 for posting the time and location that a swat team would meet up on social media.

Later that year he was found to have engaged in derogatory and inappropriate behavior. As punishment, he had a three-day suspension, lost three days of PTO, and was required to take two human resources classes.

In 2021 he was found to have violated the anti-harassment policy again and he lost three days of PTO.

Later that year he was investigated for taking a photo of a woman’s dead body after a horrific car crash, sharing it with others but never logging it into evidence. He wasn’t found to have violated any department policies.

Finally, in 2022 he was found to have violated the department’s anti-harassment policy again by using offensive language towards a city employee and creating an uncomfortable work environment, for that he had to forfeit 16 hours of PTO.

19 News wanted to know why after all that is Brian Simcox still employed as a lieutenant at Akron police. We tried to get answers from both the mayor and the police chief. So far, we haven’t heard back. Stay with 19 News for updates.