The departure of Donald Schismenos from the Akron Police Department, unfortunately, has been long, expensive and confusing. But under a settlement agreement between the city and the former patrolman, effective late last month, Schismenos agreed to resign, drop any further lawsuits and end his law enforcement career. He has been on paid leave for more than 28 months, at a cost of more than $125,000.
Schismenos, a department leader in citizen complaints and use-of-force investigations, did serve a 45-day, unpaid suspension for confronting, against orders, a woman videotaping him as he made an arrest. An investigation into other matters, said to involve documents related to his computer, ended with no charges filed.
In a broader sense, Schismenos, considered a gang expert, and the department parted ways long before the settlement agreement. Under Chief James Nice, the department has stressed cooperation over confrontation, placing a premium on developing leads from neighborhood sources. The tactic has begun to prove effective, the department last year making arrests in 21 of 22 homicide cases, far exceeding the 2012 rate and the national average.
Chief Nice reminds that in Akron, victims and perpetrators often live within a few miles of each other. By adopting new methods, the department seeks to gain valuable crime-fighting allies.