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4 finalists make their cases to be Akron's next police chief

The position became vacant with the retirement of Chief Ken Ball this past February.

AKRON, Ohio — The city of Akron has narrowed down the Chief of Police search to four finalists, and all made their cases for why they believe they are fit for the job in a virtual town hall on Thursday.

The position became vacant with the retirement of Chief Ken Ball this past February. The national search began 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 were completed by Mayor Dan 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," 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 (New York) Police Department

"It's important for the community and police departments to see what the community wants in their police officers. We need to diversify the people we are putting in our academies, people who have diverse experiences."

Joseph P. Sullivan, recently retired Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department

"There's a lot of things we have to start over, we have to reduce violence while restoring confidence, the public's confidence in the police so I like to start with the basics and move forward and that starts with the way we train."

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

"The people want to see themselves in their police officers and that will lead to trust. Things need to be customized to the needs in Akron and I've successfully done that in two different organizations."

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

"If I become your chief I will have a lot of work to do in the first 6 months to a year, inside and outside of the organization and develop relationships to establish a foundation of the changes we need to make within the organization."

Watch the entire meeting in the player below:

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