AKRON, Ohio — Akron is seeking its new police chief, but Mayor Shammas Malik announced Monday that the city will not be allowed to hire someone externally. 

What You Need To Know

  • Akron will not be able to hire a new police chief externally

  • This is because of a state law that has been in place since 2007

  • They will have to promote internally 

Michael Benza, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, explained the Ohio law is that is not allowing them to hire someone externally.

“If you have a vacancy at any level above patrol officer, that you must promote from within and you must go through the civil service commission process. There must be a testing process, then you promote only from the rank immediately below.”

Benza explained that there are ways around the law.

“There may not be an immediate rank below the chief of police, so you may not have a pool of people. Also, there may not be a pool of people within your rank and file who want to seek the promotion, which means you have no applicants and so there are ways that the city or the municipality could declare that they cannot comply with the statue and then use the statue’s mechanisms to go for external searches,” he said.

Another way is for an external candidate whose qualifications far exceed ones of the internal candidates. Benza expressed it may be time for a change in the law.

“When we write statutes we don’t tend to think about what they really mean once we’ve written it and this is a circumstance where you know it might be incumbent on the general assembly to figure out is this really what we wanted and do we have to put in a fix,” he said.

Malik said that he plans to make a change when it comes to this law.