In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, so many questions remain. Who? Why? How?
The smoke of the twin blasts at the race finish line still lingering in the national psyche with plenty of speculation as broadcast, print and web outlets churn opinion without much substance to go on at this time. We know what -- bombs detonated, to lethal and injurious affect. We know where, we know who the victims were but motivation is still unknown.
We do know this comes with this as a week rich in anniversary dates; Waco, Oklahoma City, the establishment of the nation-state of Israel, the annual tax rites, Patriot Day in one of the 13 colonies.
We know the face of an eight-year old Dorchester, Massachusetts boy stares at us from computer screens as the face of terrorism's victims in 2013. Martin Richards, seen here in a photo going viral on Facebook, may very well be the enduring vision we prefer to have coming out of the Boston bombing rather than the streets streaked with the carnage of those blasts.
We know the tragedy has Martin's face; a little boy who went to the marathon to cheer on his father, to give Dad a hug as he crossed the finish line, to start returning to the sidewalk where his mother and little sister waited.
To return just as the force of the blast hit, killing his sister and leaving his mother with terrible injury. The Richards family ripped apart by hate and blind violence, a wound felt by a nation.
We know America is once again sharing what makes up the daily life for people in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Somalia. American flags are flying at half-staff today by order of President Obama; Ohio flags fly at half-staff by order of Governor Kasich.
What are we to make of the impact here at home, eleven and a half years beyond September 11th? WONE's Jeff Kinzbach spoke with local law enforcement with unique views. Akron Police Chief James Nice heads one of the biggest police departments in northeast Ohio, one charged with helping maintain peace and safety for another marathon. The Akron Marathon welcomes thousands to the streets of our city, just as the Boston Marathon does on a much larger scale. As in Boston, there's a large finish line area where runners, friends and family gather to celebrate the accomplishment of 26.2 miles. As in Boston, nearly everyone carries their gear in a bag or backpack.
Brimfield Chief of Police David Oliver is a steady hand for a suburban department, one with a strong following across the world thanks to his embrace of social media and, in particular, his "Chief's Rants" on Facebook. Today Oliver writes "We cannot be afraid. We must be resolved and we must look ahead. We are the United States of America. We are Americans. We have been getting punched in the face for over 200 years. We wipe away the blood, mourn our dead and then we have the reckoning."
Both men are veteran law enforcement officers; in the case of Nice, it's a career that includes the F.B.I., now charged with getting answers on the who and why of the Boston bombings. Both are confident the answers will come from the hard work being done now by dedicated federal, state and local investigators. Both also say we live in a world where we need to take more responsibility not only for our own personal safety but also the safety of our community.
It's a lesson we shouldn't have to repeat every 11 years.
The Akron Police Department swore in nine new officers Monday evening, but is still facing some serious challenges in terms of recruiting women and minorities to serve as officers.
Nine men were sworn in Monday evening, Danny D'Annunzio, Jr, Michael DiFrancesco, Richard Farwell, Greg Joyce, Scott Myers, Thomas Parr, Jr, Louis Petit III, Kyle Walter, and Keith Williams are now the newest members of the APD's patrol division.
None of the officers were women or minorities. Akron Police Chief James Nice explains it is a difficult process to get women and minorities to join the police force.
"It ends up being how many people in specific groups that apply for the job,"Nice said.
"A lot of females do not consider law enforcement as a career, and the same goes for minority communities, we just don't have the candidates applying."
Akron Police Chief James Nice and Mayor Don Plusquellic by Akron NewsNow
Mayor Don Plusquellic tells AkronNewsNow com that it isn't just Akron having these issues.
"It's a very difficult thing right now to be able to figure out how you get a proportional number of people to be represented in the community and every mayor is struggling with it."
Akron Police Chief James Nice says this was a proud moment for these nine men.
"It's terrific," Nice explained. "To have this young blood come in here when we've been down staffing wise is nothing but positive for us."
"These men have been equipped to handle many different situations," said Chief Nice.
"Some of these men have served in our Armed Forces, while others have served in other police departments, so their backgrounds give them the opportunity to enhance our patrol division."
Family and friends were on hand at the Oliver Ocasek Building downtown to congratulate the men on becoming the newest members of the APD, and for those 9 individuals and their loved ones, it was a great accompishment in their lives.
For new Akron police officer Keith Williams, this moment could be summed up in one word.
"Incredible," Williams said."It's an awesome experience and I look forward to starting."
Williams says the men he was sworn in with including himself will do their best to protect the citizens of Akron.
"I think we bring a lot of experience to the table and I think all of us combined are prepared for whatever this job brings, so we're looking forward to it."
A new federal grant has been awarded to Akron to help with public safety.
The Akron Police Department will receive a nearly $180,000 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Bill Holland from the Summit County Sheriff's Office and Lori Pesci from the Summit County Emergency Management Agency also worked with the City and applied for the same grant and will receive nearly $40,000 from the JAG program.
In a written statement, Akron Police Chief James Nice explained that the funding will used to continue hot spot enforcement, equipment and training.
Mayor Don Plusquellic will be meeting today (Friday) in Washington with the Community-Oriented Policing program (COPS).
The city is currently waiting on a grant request from the COPS program of $5.7 million for the hiring of 32 new officers.
Updated 4:26 with letter from Chief Nice
Akron Chief James Nice says he didn't intend to break any jurisdiction rules after an attempted break-in at his New Franklin home.
In a letter to Law Director Cheri Cunningham, Chief Nice reports the incident and notes, when calling and talking with Akron dispatch, the supervisor on duty asked if he wanted "someone to watch the house the next night in an attempt to catch someone coming back, and I said sure."
Nice wrote he feared the attack was from someone wanting to kill him, citing undercover work he had done in Akron, believing it was tied to his work as an FBI agent and most likely tied to retaliation by gang members. He writes the attack included a sledge hammer coming through the bedroom window.
Mayor Don Plusquellic responded to the controversy at a news conference this morning. He says the main question to be answered is whether Chief Nice was justified in asking for Akron police officers to help investigate the incident.
Plusquellic says he doesn't believe Nice intentionally did anything wrong, but admitted he should have also called the Summit County Sheriff to investigate. Plusquellic called the news conference this morning to respond to criticism from mayoral opponent Mike Williams on job creation. Williams questions the Mayor's efforts in protecting local jobs. Plusquellic provided a lengthy handout defending his record.
New Franklin P.D. this afternoon released the audio from the call Chief Nice placed when first reporting the attempted break-in. Editor's note: AkronNewsNow.com has edited the audio to remove references to Nice's phone number and home address.
In the audio, Chief Nice sounds calm and composed and complies with requests from the dispatcher to only walk to the front door once responded officers have been alerted. Chief Nice responds to a question from the dispatcher on whether he is armed, noting he is armed.
Previous coverage 10:54 a.m.
New Franklin police confirm Akron police chief James Nice called in his own detectives and crime scene investigators to his home after the early-morning crime last weekend. After two officers brought overnight security, Nice said he learned he should have contacted another agency to deal with the investigation.
New Franklin PD Lt. Ed Klein discusses the case
Law Director Cheri Cunningham tells WAKR's Ray Horner Morning Show the city is reviewing the situation and that they have yet to determine the cost associated with the work at the chief's home.
Nice says that he woke up to the sounds of someone striking his first-floor windows. He immediately grabbed his gun and called 911. New Franklin Police responded to the call where they found two windows broken and one damaged. Police did not find the suspect.
After police briefly looked outside of his home, Nice says he then called the department's detective bureau.
Nice told the Beacon Journal he chose to have the department come to his home because he thought someone was trying to kill him. He believes this was not a random crime and may be related to his prior work with the FBI.
Copyright © 2013 AkronNewsNow & Rubber City Radio Group |All Rights Reserved | 1795 West Market Street | Akron, OH 44313 | 330.869.9800