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Akron police auditor candidate to meet with residents this week

Kemp Boyd (second from right) speaks during a civilian police oversight board meeting April 26, 2023.
Anna Huntsman
Ideastream Public Media
Kemp Boyd (second from right) speaks during a civilian police oversight board meeting April 26, 2023. The board is welcoming its pick for the role of police auditor to meet with the community this week.

Akron may soon have a new police auditor, and he’s coming to town this week to meet with the community.

Akron’s Citizens’ Police Oversight Board is holding events this week with Anthony Finnell, the board’s candidate for the police auditor role, according to a news release.

“We are excited to engage with Akron residents on the Police Auditor search and give our community a chance to meet and question a candidate for the role,” CPOB Chair Kemp Boyd said in a news release. “Tony Finnell has 30 years of experience in law enforcement and also has experience consulting for other civilian oversight boards which makes him particularly fit for this role. We want to give everyone the opportunity to meet Tony, ask him questions, and ask the Board questions. Our community’s input will help us determine next steps for the role.”

The board will host a presentation and Q&A discussion Wednesday Feb. 14 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Ellet Community Learning Center. Attendees will be able to ask questions and fill out a survey with their feedback.

CPOB member Brandyn Costa will moderate the conversation.

“It should be a very good event, and … we all very much hope that Mr. Finnell will be to the public someone as good as we all think he is,” CPOB member Bob Gippin said.

Finnell and CPOB members will give a brief presentation about Finnell’s experience and the role of the police auditor before answering written questions from the audience, Gippin added.

On Thursday, Finnell will meet privately with city officials and community leaders, including people who were involved in the creation and passage of Issue 10, the charter amendmentthat voters approved in November 2022 that created the CPOB.

Finnell has 30 years of law enforcement experience and has worked with several civilian oversight boards, according to the release. He is currently the president of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.

If hired by the CPOB, Finnell would lead investigations into police misconduct complaints as well as use-of-force incidents. According to the CPOB’s proposed rules, Finnell and other members of the Office of the Independent Police Auditor would be permitted to review and investigate complaints after the Akron Police Department’s internal affairs unit has investigated them.

The OIPA includes three positions: auditor, deputy auditor and an administrative assistant. The board has already hired an administrative assistant, Shannon Thompson.

The board took a vote in January to extend an offer to Finnell but it did not receive the two thirds support needed to pass. Members Boyd and Caitlyn Castle voted ‘no’ because they wanted the public to give feedback first.

The board plans to vote again to finalize Finnell’s contract on Feb. 21 if his visit to Akron goes well, Gippin said.

An Indianapolis resident, Finnell plans to move to Akron with his wife if he is hired, Gippin said.

Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.