On the one year anniversary of Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner's death, his father is moving forward with a new project to support local law enforcement officers across Summit County.

Winebrenner has announced the launch of Project Blue Light, JW1301, which is part of a nationwide effort to honor service members in the community.

"I think this blue light would tell those officers out there at night time, and the people driving around, that 'there's a supporter of peace keepers,'" said Winebrenner. "... this blue light represents anybody who's other in the service industry and even our military people."

Winebrenner said the bulbs will be available at local venues across the area, including at the Barberton Police Department where some officers will make a personally delivery to those who request a blue light for their home.

Donations are being accepted and will be used to purchase additional blue lights to be distributed around the area. 

Updates and more information can be found on the Justin Winebrenner Memorial Page on Facebook.


Published in Local

The man convicted in the fatal shooting of Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner was officially sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus an additional 65 years, Wednesday morning.

Judge Alison McCarty followed the jury's recommendation last week to sentence Kenan Ivery, 36, to life in prison over execution.

"You will never again walk among us as a free man," said McCarty.

Justin Winebrenner's father, Rob Winebrenner, was the first of many family members and friends to give a victim impact statement before Ivery's sentencing.

"Finally, I want you to know as a parent, I am content standing here as a proud father of a hero that is no longer with us, knowing the last good deed that Justin did as a police officer is getting you off the streets forever."

Ivery shot and killed Winebrenner during a fight at Papa Don's Pub last November and also wounded four others. Ivery claimed it was self-defense when he pulled the trigger. He walked back into the bar with a gun after he was asked to leave.

Previous Coverage:

UPDATE Jury Recommends Life In Prison Without Parole

Kenan Ivery's Mother Begs For Mercy In Court

UPDATE Kenan Ivery Found Guilty of Aggravated Murder

Ivery Claims Self-Defense In Murder Trial

AUDIO Chief Nice Remembers Fallen Officer

Published in Local
Friday, 11 September 2015 08:39

UPDATE Akron Police Investigating Homicide

UPDATE: Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Anthony L. Teague Jr., 21, of Chalker Avenue in Akron.



Akron police are investigating a homicide after a 20-year-old was found with multiple stab wounds.

The Summit County Medical Examiner reports the victim was found outside a residence in the 900 block of Palmetto Avenue in Akron around 12:45 a.m.

He was transported to Akron City Hospital where he was later pronounced dead at 1:26 am.

The Summit County Medical Examiner says 20 year-old Dion Thomas of Palmetto Avenue died of a stab wound to the neck, and have ruled the death a homicide.

Police are searching for Teague, who is listed as the suspect in the homicide. No motive is known at this time.

Published in Local
Monday, 24 August 2015 17:50

Violent Crime Spikes And What Causes Them

It's a problem according to police chiefs around the country...a significant spike in violent crimes.

Places like Chicago, Baltimore, Dallas and Milwaukee have seen violent crime grow from 20 to 100 percent recently.

It's not the exact same problem in Akron, according to Akron police chief James Nice, with homicides down...but he says there are some increases here in other violent crime categories.

"Our homicides are actually down for the year," Chief Nice tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol Show with Jim Carney filling in, "but we've got some smaller spikes in shots fired and shootings."

Chief Nice says there are a lot of reasons violent crime has increased in America's larger cities...like calls by some people for less enforcement in their neighborhood.

He says officers are worried in some cities that since policies force them to back away, a department won't "have their back" if they have to use force.

Published in Jasen Sokol

A Chippewa High School assistant principal has been charged with sexual battery after police say he was sexually involved with a female student.

NewsChannel 5 reports Matthew Hathaway, 28, was arrested in Doylestown Monday afternoon.

Details were not released, but officials said the student no longer attends the school.

Hathaway is facing three counts of sexual battery.

On the web: www.newsnet5.com



Published in Local
Thursday, 30 April 2015 18:03

AUDIO: High Tech Ways To Improve Policing

In the wake of the riots in Baltimore, many people are asking how to ensure that what happened there doesn't happen anywhere else. Among the areas where many believe improvement is needed is training for police officers.

Dr. David Licate, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Technology at The University of Akron, says new technology may help improve training. He says simulators used by some departments can put officers through a variety of situations while tracking and evaluating their progress. Licate pointed out that while most officers go through their whole career without a shooting, such events have high consequences making it imperative that officers are highly trained.

Licate also discussed the report of Gov. John Kasich's panel on police-community relations, saying he supports the idea of bringing in outside prosecutors and investigators to deal with incidents surrounding the use of force.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Getting a cup of coffee with Akron's police chief just got a little easier.

The police department is kicking off a new monthly program called "Coffee with the Chief" -- bringing together residents and police officials to dicuss issues in the community and to simply get to know the person behind the uniform.

The first meeting will happpen this Thursday, April 16 at the Akron Family Restaurnat on West Market Street from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

The event will take place at different locations within the city each month.

Published in Local
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 10:45

VIDEO Canton Police Add Body Cameras

The Canton Police Department announced today that officers will begin wearing body cameras after a more than year-long selection process.

The department will hand out the cameras to all uniformed officers, including supervisors, over the next 12 weeks.

The police department posted a sample video on their Facebook page showing the quality of the recordings captured on the body cameras.

Published in Local

UPDATE 2:35 PM 2/25/15: Akron police say they've identified the three women previously named "persons of interest" at Papa Don's Pub, the night that Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner was killed while off duty at the bar last November.

Police say the women are NOT suspects. They were patrons at Papa Don's Pub before Winebrenner's death.

Police had previously released video and pictures of the women asking for the public's help in identifying them.

The murder suspect in the case, Kenan Ivery, has pleaded not guilty to all counts against him. Ivery is accused of shooting Winebrenner after the off-duty police officer attempted to break up a fight at Papa Don's on November 16th, 2014. 


(Earlier WAKR.net coverage) Akron police are asking for the public's help to identify three "persons of interest" in connection to the murder case of Officer Justin Winebrenner who was shot and killed at a bar in November.

Police haven't released many details, but they have released video of the three individuals at Papa Don's Pub in Akron and the vehicle they appeared to get into after leaving the bar.

The murder suspect in the case, Kenan Ivery, has pleaded not guilty to all counts against him.

Ivery is accused of shooting Winebrenner after the off-duty police officer attempted to break up a fight at Papa Don's on November 16th, 2014.

Published in Local

(UPDATE 2:40 PM 2/12/15) It was a normal day in the North Canton school district - with a lot of police presence after an online threat was discovered Wednesday.

"My experience at the North Canton Middle School today was that students came, were orderly, cooperative," North Canton police chief Stephen Wilder told a Thursday afternoon press conference, "the staff was well informed."

But Wilder says despite a "safe environment" at schools on Thursday, there are still many unanswered questions.

Police are asking why a North Canton Middle School eighth grader received the anonymous threat, via a site that caters to anonymous users. Wilder called "Ask.fm" a "creepy site".

"So were trying to see how this young eighth grader received that information, why it was him, why our middle school," Wilder noted. "And that leads us to some questions, and I'm sure for you all, too, that we're trying to get to."

Wilder says they want to talk to the student who got the threat again soon. One question they will have, is why the student reposted the threat on his Instagram account instead of notifying his parents, police or school officials.

Officials say attendance was down at North Canton Middle School on Thursday by about 50 percent.


(Previous coverage) There will be extra security at North Canton City Schools today after a threatening message was posted online.

North Canton police say the message stated that someone was going to shoot up the North Canton Middle School on Thursday. Authorities are trying to track down the person behind threat -- but they say the message was posted using an international proxy that lets one surf the internet anonymously and hides your IP address.

Police have asked the Ohio Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and the Canton office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to help with the investigation.

Police officers will be stationed at North Canton City schools, including the middle school, Hoover High School, Orchard Hill Intermediate School, Greentown Intermediate School, Northwood Elementary School, Clearmount Elementary School and St. Paul's Holy Cross Academy.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the North Canton Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-499-5911 or "Tip" line at 330-966-3633, the North Canton City Schools Safety Hotline or safety/security tip line phone number at 330-966-1703, or email the School Resource Officer (police officer) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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