Local Law Enforcement Actively Working To Expand Diversity

By Becca Sagaris, Shelby Reeves and Sara Al Harthi KENT, Ohio — The Merriam-Webster definition of diversity is “the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.”  Diversity in general in any workplace environment is important to ensure inclusion among all people involved, both staff and community. It is especially important in law enforcement to decrease the opportunity to abuse their power and increase their understanding of the people they serve, improving law enforcement’s relationship with the community. “Diversity within our department means having different groups well-represented within our agency,” Michael Lewis, the Administrative

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City of Kent’s plan for Halloween during COVID-19 pandemic

KENT, Ohio — The City of Kent Trick-or-Treat event and annual Halloween party are coming up, and with the COVID-19 risk level increasing in Portage County, the Kent Police Department and Health Department plan to ensure everyone taking part in the festivities this year stays safe. Every year, the city of Kent gets a little spooky for the first popular holiday of the fall season. As Halloween creeps closer, friends and families visit orchards, haunted houses and corn mazes, decorate their houses and carve pumpkins that are later set out on their front porch steps.  Although many of these activities are fun and attached to yearly traditions, due to the

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A Look Into Police Body-Worn Cameras

KENT, Ohio — How would you feel if the officer that pulled you over approached you wearing a camera attached to his or her chest? Some of you would feel safer; the officer is being held accountable for his or her actions when in contact with you. Others may feel the opposite, feeling their right to privacy is being invaded.  These are only a few of the very valid points on both sides of the argument around police police body-worn (BWCs). It is important for patrons and officers alike to understand both sides of the argument regarding police BWCs when forming an opinion about them, especially since the Kent police

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Local law enforcement agencies response to COVID-19

Local law enforcement agencies are taking new precautions to ensure the safety of both their staff and the public. With a reduction in staff for some agencies and reduction in crime for others, there’s one common theme between them all: They’ve been able to adapt with the new changes in social distancing guidelines. Tricia Knoles with the Kent State University police department said, “A lot of what’s going on right now is a learning experience for everything. It’s just very new. For some people, they’re learning to adapt. The thing with law enforcement and public safety is that it’s always fluid. So, we always have to be adaptable.” For the

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Showing the softer side of Police

By Morgan Hallam and Shaquiena Davis In today’s society, police always seem to be under attack in the media and by their communities for doing something incorrectly. Both the Kent and Akron Police Department are trying to create a healthy and friendly environment for the people they protect. Akron Police has a unit called The Neighborhood Response Team which goes out to engage with the community by going to meetings with the community and block watch meetings. Officer Jim Leadbetter and Officer Aaron Brown are on the response team. Officer Brown said their unit sees the more positive side of the community and how they interact with police. “They’ll even

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How Strongsville is re-enforcing Ohio school bus laws.

After the tragedy in Indiana where three school children died after being hit by a car passing a school bus illegally, Strongsville’s police department decided to enforce Ohio’s school bus laws a little differently. Above is a podcast. It has the interviews of both Mark Fender, Strongville’s Chief of Police, and Cameron Ryba, superintendent of Strongsville City Schools.  They discuss how this solution came to fruition and how they plan to continue it in the future.  Strongsville is not the only police department in Ohio to take action against distracted drivers.  Chief Fender explained how the intiative is less about the numbers and more about behavioral change. “I don’t have numbers

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Portage County diversion program educates teens, college students caught drinking underage

Words by: Caelin Mills Portage County’s diversion program aims to give first time offenders a second chance and educate them on the dangers of underage drinking. According to Linda Broska, programs coordinator for Kent’s Family and Community Services, the program was written in 2000 at the request of the prosecutor and municipal court judges at the time.   “Oct. 27, 2000 is when the underage consumption diversion program came into play and that is the program that we use now,” Broska said. First, the offender must have no previous alcohol-related convictions. They must then enter a guilty plea upon arraignment, where the judge can offer the program. Judge Barbara Oswick

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Kent authorities plan ahead to make Halloween less spooky for residents

by Kathryn Monsewicz and Dylan Reynolds   Kent’s annual Halloween party is quickly approaching, and authorities from the city and university are making plans to keep residents safe at the event that typically draws more than 20,000 people. Kent Police Department will be fully staffed the night of Oct. 27 with additional help from Metro SWAT, an organization that includes officers from Kent, Kent State, Brimfield, Stow and Aurora. Kent State University police will be on overtime for the most part, overlapping afternoon and midnight shifts to stay at full strength. “We work with the city police department in a lot of the areas that are more prone to partygoers,”

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Local police departments move toward officer body cameras

Body-worn cameras are useful to law enforcement because they provide accurate and transparent footage that can be helpful in court proceedings and provide clarity in accusations of abuse of force. However, the costs of body-worn cameras have prevented some local police departments from obtaining that means of security.   Local Police Departments on Funding Kent is one of those area departments that does not use body cameras. “I went out into the public and spoke with a number of different organizations and did presentations on body-worn cameras to get people’s feel and input and see whether or not they thought the police department needed body cameras,” Kent Police Lieutenant Michael

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Portage County Probate Court Works to Rehabilitate Troubled Youth

Juvenile crime rates in Portage County climbed in the past year despite rehabilitation efforts from the juvenile/probate division of the Portage County Common Pleas Court. In 2017, the juvenile/probate division had 619 cases. That’s an increase from the 2016 count of 531 cases. Offenses range from murder to assault to truancy and tobacco offenses. Youths who embroil themselves in cases relating to any of these charges may find themselves in the office of Chief Probation Officer Jeff Cunningham. “It can be difficult,” he said. “You see all of the kids that don’t necessarily go on and succeed as adults, and you never really know what happens to the ones that

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