Mayor Malik Proposes Voluntary Separation Package

Akron, Ohio, May 20, 2024  Today, Akron Mayor Shammas Malik presented legislation to City Council that would authorize the Administration to enter into a voluntary separation agreement at the Deputy Chief level. In the coming months, the administration also plans to announce a voluntary separation proposal for officers at the Captain and Lieutenant level. This second phase will require separate approval from City Council, as well as negotiation with the Fraternal Order of Police union.  

 

Voluntary separation packages, sometimes referred to as buyouts, create openings for officers at lower ranks in the department to advance to higher positions. With 387 officers and detectives, 67 sergeants, 20 lieutenants, 10 captains, and 4 deputy chief roles, it is clear that there are few positions at the higher ranks. Allowing for upward movement in the ranks assists with changing culture, bringing new ideas and perspectives into leadership roles. 

 

Voluntary separation packages will also pave the way for the city’s new Police Chief to build a new management structure for Akron Police. “Chief Harding shares my vision to take our police department in a new direction, focused heavily on community policing and forming relationships with our residents,” said Mayor Malik. “This step will allow us to build a team focused on that work.” 

 

The package presented to Council today would allow for a payment of up to $400,000 to one current Deputy Chief. This amount was calculated with recognition of the significant pension income that officers forfeit to retire early, and looking at programs in other Ohio communities, including Columbus. While it is a significant figure, Mayor Malik’s administration believes that continuing to prioritize public safety, and creating the strongest leadership structure, giving officers and supervisors more opportunity to advance in their careers and offer new perspectives is a worthwhile expense.  

 

“I’m very supportive of the Mayor’s vision to increase community policing and engagement with our residents,” said Chief Harding. “Our officers demonstrate dedicated service to our community every day, and while we work on strengthening policing and public safety, we will always seek to show respect to the individual service of each member of our safety forces. It should be noted that these programs are voluntary, and employees are entirely within their rights to remain in their positions."