Akron police chief announces new tactical team to focus only on reducing gun violence

AKRON, Ohio - Akron's police chief is using $1.25 million federal grant to create a new unit designed to focus squarely on gun reduction in the city.

The city was able to hire 10 officers through a Cops Hiring Grant awarded in 2013. Those officers are currently working patrol duty.

Chief James Nice is finalizing a plan that will assign nine veteran officers and one sergeant to work on the Gun Violence Reduction Tactical Team.

"There will be two teams. One working during the days and one working during the nights and they'll do nothing but investigations involving gun violence," Nice said.

Nice has repeatedly said that taking guns out of the hands of criminals is a top priority.

Last year, 599 confiscated guns led to 384 arrests in Akron. In 2014, 90 guns have been seized, resulting in 53 arrests so far.

Akron police handle about 190,000 calls for service each year.

Nice said with officers bouncing to several different calls, there hasn't been enough attention directed towards gun-related crimes and to those who pull the triggers.

He believes the new unit will change that, allowing the team to conduct more surveillance operations, witness and suspect interviews and DNA testing on guns.

"They'll do more follow up when we get guns out of cars, where they came from, who's distributing them," he said.

The tactical team is expected to be up and running by April 7.

Cynthia Ivery supports the new plan. Her son, Henry Ivery, 25, was shot to death in December of 2011 on Storer Avenue. The murder remains unsolved and police don't have any suspects.

"They need to come up with something to stop the gun violence," Cynthia Ivery said.

Summit County Crimestoppers is offering a $4,000 reward for information that leads to Henry Ivery's killer.

Anyone with information should call 330-434-COPS. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

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