Mayor-Elect Malik Announces Police Chief Search

Akron, Ohio, Dec. 15, 2023 — In September, current Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett jointly announced the Chief’s planned departure at the end of the year and his retirement from policing after 35 years of dedicated service. Today, Mayor-Elect Shammas Malik has announced that beginning Jan. 1, 2024, current Akron Deputy Chief Brian Harding will take over as Acting Chief while a nationwide search is conducted for Chief Mylett’s replacement. The search will prioritize public engagement and community input and is expected to take three to five months. The search firm will begin soliciting candidates in the new year, and both internal and external candidates will be considered for the position.

At Mayor-Elect Malik’s direction, the City of Akron has contracted with Ralph Anderson & Associates to search for Mylett’s successor. The national consulting company previously led the search which found Chief Mylett for the role. The search will begin with a community survey to gauge what Akron residents want from the next leader of the Akron Police Department (APD). The survey is now live and available online here. The survey is available in Spanish here, in Arabic here, and in Nepali here. Residents will also be able to access hard copies of the survey at their local community center in the coming days. Click here for a list of community centers. The team is also issuing an internal survey to current members of the Akron Police Department to consider what they would like to see in their next Chief.

Mayor-Elect Malik is also announcing a community townhall to be held Thursday, January 11 from 6-7:30pm at Garfield CLC (1326 Brown St.) The townhall will provide an opportunity for Akron residents to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas in person regarding the Police Chief search. The event will be livestreamed to the city’s Youtube page for those who can’t attend in person. Input will be recorded and provided to the search firm to help lead their efforts.

“As we conduct the search for Chief Mylett’s replacement, we recognize the importance of community involvement and the role of the process itself,” said Mayor-Elect Malik. “Having a transparent process will be crucial as we continue to build trust with our community. Through these surveys and a community townhall we’ll be able to provide critical input to the search team. Public safety is the top priority of my new administration, and together, we will work towards a common goal of effective and community-focused policing for Akron.”

While the city conducts its search, APD will be led by Acting Chief Brian Harding. Deputy Chief Harding attended the University of Akron where he earned his bachelor’s degree in technical education with an associate’s degree in criminal justice. He has 28 years of law enforcement experience and has been with the Akron Police Department since 1995. He has been promoted several times throughout his tenure and was most recently promoted to Deputy Chief in November of 2021. Brian is a recent graduate of Leadership Akron Class 39, has attended the Police Executive Leadership College, and is a current board member of Victims Assistance. He has been married to his wife Michelle for 28 years and they have two children.

“I’m pleased that Deputy Chief Harding has agreed to take on the role of Acting Chief to lead the Akron Police Department,” continued Mayor-Elect Malik. “As a long-time member of this department, he not only has the experience to lead, but also the institutional knowledge that has made him an invaluable part of the organization. His proven skills in public service, community engagement, relationship building, and leadership will be crucial to the important work that our officers do day in and day out for the Akron community.”

“I am honored Mayor-Elect has entrusted me to lead the department through this transitional phase,” said Deputy Chief Harding. “My goal will be to continue to make the city a safe place for our residents and visitors, and I am committed to leading an efficient and community-focused police force. It is the highest privilege to serve the citizens of Akron alongside the outstanding men and women of this department.”