New data shows drop in Akron police officer applications after shooting of Jayland Walker

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 11:01 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Interest in becoming an Akron police officer appears to be slightly down this year, compared to applications submitted prior to the police shooting death of Jayland Walker.

According the Akron Law Department, the city received 738 applications from prospective police officers in 2022.

Last year’s job posting was up from late March until early August, although records show no applications were submitted after June 24.

19 News just obtained a breakdown of applicants for 2023, which shows 569 people signed up to take the police exam.

This year’s posting was up from mid-January until March 9. Unlike the 2022 data released by the law department, the new numbers do not show specific dates when people applied. Without such data, a direct year-to-year comparison is not available.

However, the numbers that were released show the city received 169 fewer applications.

Chief Steve Mylett was not available for comment. A department spokesperson told 19 News he would likely be available to talk in April.

In October of last year, Mylett spoke candidly about the impact of the shooting internally.

“It’s been better,” he told 19 News, referring to department morale. “It’s been better. We’re working towards improving it.”

Police departments across the country have struggled to recruit new officers, especially where the relationship between cops and the communities they serve has been strained.

In his final State of the City Address on Wednesday, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan pushed for a new generation of leadership.

“In all spectrum of public services, police, fire, elected office, santitation, teachers, principals, there’s an entire generation of my age that’s transitioning out,” Horrigan said. “Our future is up to our next generation of leaders to step in there.”

It’s unclear how many of the 569 applicants will be hired by the department.