It's not just the local community showing support and honoring fallen Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner who was shot and killed while off-duty at an Akron bar over the weekend. A "Lights On" event hosted by the Heroes Memorial Foundation is using social media to reach beyond the Akron area to show support to a fallen hero.
Jeannie LeMaster with the non-profit organization said those who want to join the "Lights On" event can do so by simply turning on their porch lamp each night for a week and through memorial services. If possible, LeMaster says a blue bulb is preferred to represent law enforcement.
LeMaster said it's important to recognize those who died trying to protecting their community -- whether on officer was on or off-duty.
"In a community as tight as Akron, as condensed as it is, everybody knows who the police officers are in and out of uniform. They look to you to protect them, whether you're getting paid to do it or not," said LeMaster.
Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner is listed as the 100th officer killed in the U.S. this year.
Abbi Dobson says she was just being a Good Samaritan. Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis also believes Abbi was trying to do the right thing, but says she was still breaking the law.
Dobson, 18, of Akron, was helping to rescue a cat struck by a car along Portage Trail near Northampton Road. She pulled over to the side with her emergency lights on and walked into the street to help the animal. That's when a truck struck her, throwing her over the hood and knocking her unconscious .
"I got taken to Akron City [Hospital] and then the next morning, I don't remember much of it, but the cop came and handed me my ticket," Abbi said.
That ticket was for jaywalking.
It's not the type of news Abbi wanted to hear considering the pain she was in and the fact that she was unable to eventually help the cat.
Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis understands why Abbi made the decision to walk into the street to save the injured cat, but he says an officer's job is to enforce the law.
"We looked to see if the driver made any errors," said police chief Jack Davis. "If the driver had committed any violations, the driver would have been cited. In this case, it was a pedestrian that officers felt created a violation that caused the accident and that's why she was cited."
Davis doesn't want his department and the officer involved in the case to come across as "heartless." He stressed that the officer was sympathetic and concerned about Abbi's well-being.
"She wasn't penalized for trying to help an animal. She could've contacted the police department who would have sent an officer out there to check on it. Unfortunately, her actions caused an accident."
Abbi entered a no contest plea Thursday afternoon. She says she would have entered a not guilty plea, but she didn't want the case to drag out for a long period of time. She was found guilty, but didn't have to pay the fine. Abbi was just left to pay $60 in court costs.
Jerry Dobson, Abbi's father, said he respects the department's position on the case, but still wishes it could have played out differently .
"I respect their decision," said Jerry. "They have a job to do, for sure, and I can imagine what the lady felt like that her. That's not easy to live with, but why make a bad situation worse is my point. I think at some point there has to be a judgment call by whoever the officer is on site."
Davis hopes the public understands that the department's actions in this case was not meant to penalize Abbi for her good deed, but meant to uphold the law when investigating an accident.
"I get what she was doing. We do understand people have compassion for animals. We do," said Davis. "Our officers have compassion for the people. This was just part of the job that he had to do that night."
Abbi is still recovering from her injuries caused by the accident and is dealing with vision problems, possibly caused by the concussion. She still hopes to move forward with plans to become a veterinarian in the future.
Kleckner Elementary School in Green appears to be serving the same purpose as it once had three years ago when it closed its doors for good.
The Green Fire Department and the Summit County Sheriff's Office have been using the building as an education facility, training firefighters, paramedics and deputies.
Firefighter and paramedic Jason Brian with the Green Fire Department was involved in the four-day training session focused on how to prepare and deal with a possible building collapse.
"It's very important that we know how to safely shore up the building to protect ourselves as we're going in and trying to rescue an individual who may be trapped or injured."
The fire department isn't the one taking advantage of the vacant school building. The Summit County Sheriff's Office and local police departments in the area have also used the building for training opportunities.
It's not hard to tell that the building has remained vacant since Kleckner closed its doors in 2011. Broken windows and graffiti have hidden some of the memories students, teachers and staff created inside the building over the school's history.
"It has had a purpose, even though maybe from the outside that purpose hasn't been apparent," said Julie McMahan with Green Local Schools.
Recently, the City of Green Zoning Committee approved the parceling of the land to separate the bus garage from the school building. The school district will keep the bus garage, but sell the building.
Richfield police say the 911 lines in the city are currently not working. The calls are being forwarded to the Bath Police Department until the issue is resolved.
Richfield police are still advising residents to call 911 if there is an emergency.
The Bath Police Department will contact the business lines for Richfield police to send appropriate help. The business line for non-emergencies is (330) 659-9500 and (330) 657-2911 for Peninsula.
Barberton may join in at the combined dispatch center that now serves Norton and Copley Township.
The Beacon Journal reports that the 300-thousand dollar cost would be split three ways between Norton, Copley and Barberton.
Officials from Copley and Norton are already applying for a low-interest loan to pay for their share of the new dispatch consolidation, and Barberton is expected to follow suit this week.
Officials in Copley say as many as six communities were slated to consider dispatch consolidation, but only Barberton is going through with the process so far.
On the Web: Akron Beacon Journal, www.ohio.com
A man turned himself in to Canal Fulton Police after admitting being under the influence of bath salts and other drugs.
Interim Police Chief Doug Swartz says when the 21-year old man came to in the station, he had violent intentions on his mind.
"The subject came to our station and told our dispatchers he needed handcuffed because had thoughts of suicide, saying he wanted to take a gun and begin shooting anyone that came across his path including police."
The man claimed to be a drug dealer, dealing numerous types of drugs to children. He is currently at an area medical facility.
Swartz says while under the influence of bath salts users can become extremely aggressive, delusional and paranoid.
He (Swartz) says people need to be more aware of the dangerous side effects of bath salts before thinking about trying them.
" I don't think people are really aware of the dangers of it, and the first time they are trying it could be the most dangerous time."
In addition to being high on bath salts, the man admitted to being on K-2, cocaine and marijuana.
With very few drug abusers turning themselves in, Swartz says to call the police if you see someone under the influence of bath salts or any other drug.
"For the safety of yourself, the community, and the individual themselves, call the police right away and we can either get them the help they need or we can place them under arrest and get them off the streets."
No charges have been filed and police are not releasing the man's name at this time.
Akron police arrest a third suspect in a Princeton Street murder.
Rahsheem Carr, 20, of Akron, was booked into the Summit County Jail Tuesday on aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges.
Police believe Carr was involved in the death of Phillip Anderson, who was found fatally shot in early January on Princeton Street.
Two other suspects already facing charges, Robert Davis Jr., 20, and Demarcus Williams,20, are facing similar charges.
A Canton woman is slapped with felony charges for smacking a police officer with her purse.
The Canton Repository reports the officer was trying to stop Lataija M. Parker, 18, of Canton, from leaving the Macy's at Westfield Belden Village Mall with stolen merchandise Wednesday afternoon.
She allegedly struck the mall security officer in the face. Police then tracked her down in the food court and she was arrested on felony robbery and assault charges.
Parker was booked into the Stark County Jail.
On the web: www.CantonRep.com
Statement by Mayor Don Plusquellic - December 16, 2011
Since Sunday, December 11, 2011, there have been nine people shot in the City of Akron, resulting in six deaths. The shootings here are not random acts of violence. The victims appear to have been targeted for reasons still under investigation.
I want to assure the citizens of Akron that the Akron Police Department is working tirelessly to sort through these events, capture the suspects, and solve these serious crimes. The U.S. Marshal’s Service led Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is working to apprehend various suspects in this investigation. The Akron Police Department, the FBI and the Summit County Sheriff’s Department are three of numerous agencies involved in this endeavor. All resources are being exhausted so that these homicides can be solved as quickly as possible.
I want to reassure the law-abiding citizens of Akron that they are safe, and I think it is important to repeat that these recent shootings are not random shootings of Akron citizens, but rather the victims in these cases appear to have been specifically targeted.
I encourage Akron citizens with any information about the recent shootings to call the Akron Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490.