Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Akron Police stuck in middle, can't win in residency, recall battle

I've heard from so many police officers over the last week that I feel like I'm either being deputized or investigated.

Most feel they are caught in the middle of the news headlines .. and today, two of the major issues came to a head.

First, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 5-2 to ban laws that mandate city employees live in the city limits. In Akron, Cleveland, and elsewhere, this means police officers, fire fighters, dog wardens, etc .. can now freely relocate without it costing them their jobs.

APD was always stuck in the middle of this one .. as the police officers were most vocal about wanting that freedom.

Some claimed it was too difficult to arrest a bad guy one day and then see that same bad guy in a neighborhood store a week later. Others have felt the law tied their hands as far as a public school district for their kids and/or prevented their spouses from seeking government work in neighboring cities that might have their own requirements.

There are strong arguments FOR residency as well, but the one common theme in the officers' words this week was that they just couldn't win. If they say they want freedom, they get backlash, and if they say they don't mind living in the city, they get grief from some fellow officers too.

Many in the media -- myself at times included -- have made this out to be a police issue, when in fact it's been an issue affecting all city employees.

The timing of the Supremes' ruling coincides with today's FOP vote on the mayoral recall -- again, officers tell me they can't win. The membership voted 168-166 to support the recall. Pro-recall folks will call it a "win", while supporters of the Mayor call it a "wash."

Couldn't they just vote on election day (June 23rd) and maintain their privacy? While their specific vote would always be private, no one would know which way the force swayed.

Yet, even though this vote has no legal standing, here the officers are again caught in the middle. If the force is supposed to be a representation of the public, than what does their close vote tell you about the recall?

I quipped on NewsNight Akron last Friday that there was a reason Fredo ended up in the rowboat at the end of The Godfather Part II -- never go against the family. In this case, I was trying to show the no-win situation of the officers who might hesitate to vote at all knowing there's a perception of retaliation, especially if they vote one way and the final result goes another.

In this case though, it's just the perception of retaliation.

Like I said, they just can't win.


deep lock said...

sorry eric, this is a "police issue". I don't think for one minute the police and fire union members cared one way or the other about accountants, clerks and adminstrative staff.

residency rules have been a point of contention with public safety forces for years. please don't lump us non-bargaining folks in with this as if it was an all inclusive movement. it was not.

Anonymous said...

I have three police men in my neighborhood. It's really nice having them there. One officer usually has a cruiser out front which is great for the whole neighborhood. They all became officers with the residency requirement in place. If they didn't like it they should have been a cop in another community.

wayne-in-akron said...

The timing of the Supremes' ruling coincides with today's FOP vote on the mayoral recall

In the spirit of full disclosure and accuracy, the Supreme Court ruling came AFTER voting had closed for FOP members concerning the recall.

FOP voting ended at 8 AM. The OHSUPCO ruling hit the media around 2 hours later.

Anonymous said...

Police officers accepted the job knowing living in the city is a requirement of the job. Most are happy where they live and will not flee the city now that residency is lifted. They are invested in their communities, churches and schools just like any other family. The public should not vilify all officers. Most of your officer neighbors have been going to work everyday just like you do, not spending their time pushing the residency issue or any other political issue for that matter. Our safety forces (police and fire) deserve the respect and support of the public that they go to work for every day.

Anonymous said...

From what I hear there are already Pro Recall F.O.P Robo-calls going out to Akron citizens. Paid for and put on by none other than our very own Mendenhall and his gang of goons.

wayne_in_akron said...


Don't you think that the Plusquellic "goons" would have been publicizing the FOP's vote had gone their way?

Anonymous said...

Wayne - Yes, Plusquellic would have done the same thing. But in reality the FOP vote wasn't a victory on either part. And I'm pretty sure most educated voters can see that.
What is the stance of team recall these days? Considering most of their talking points have been proven untrue by actual facts.

Anonymous said...

On the note of retalliation, should I be concerned that the APD will treat me differently since I have an anti-recall sign in my yard?

Anonymous said...

Believe me if the vote had been the other way by just two votes Plusquellics crowd would be screaming "Victory!"

Eric Mansfield said...

Remember, more than a third of FOP members did NOT cast a ballot .. so there's an argument over what they're decision means too ..

wayne_in_akron said...

Too bad that the FOP President didn't get to appear on the Friday, June 12th episode of NewsNight Akron as promoted in the following Eric Mansfield Twitter message:

Akron FOP President Paul Hlynsky to be my guest on Friday's edition of NewsNight Akron talking about residency and FOP recall vote.

12:28 PM Jun 10th from web

If Hlynsky's appearance is rescheduled for June 19th, does anyone believe that it will still have the same impact or importance?