Akron Police Chief James Nice resigned abruptly Sunday following an afternoon meeting of the department’s top officers and a call from the mayor’s office to step down, or else.

Mayor Dan Horrigan is expected to explain at a news conference Monday afternoon why he asked Nice, who became chief in 2011, to tender his resignation.

“The mayor did call me earlier this afternoon to say that he would be asking for the chief’s resignation or he would be removed,” said Marilyn Keith, president of Akron City Council, said Sunday evening. “Apparently, they have significant evidence to be asking for the resignation. That’s all I really know. I don’t know if it’s a criminal or character issue. I really don’t know.”

Nice did not return a phone call seeking comment Sunday. And the mayor’s office is waiting until 12:30 p.m. Monday to give more information at a news conference.

“I’m not going to comment further except that the mayor does intend to provide more details at the briefing,” said James Hardy, Horrigan’s chief of staff.

Police Maj. Kenneth Ball, who commands the Investigative Subdivision, has been named provisional chief of police until the mayor chooses a permanent replacement for Nice.

Councilman Donnie Kammer, who oversees the public safety committee, said he and others on the council will have to wait until Monday to learn more. Keith said she was told that the mayor believes he was justified and had substantial evidence before requesting the police chief’s resignation. Beyond that, Keith — who described her relationship to the chief as a nice and casual relationship — said she was “very surprised” by the unusual weekend announcement.

Captains of the Akron Police Department convened a leadership meeting Sunday afternoon, but what was discussed or the purpose of the meeting is unclear. Two captains who may have attended did not return phone calls.

The city sent a news release announcing Nice’s forced resignation hours after the leadership meeting. A message also was left with the Akron police union, which could not be reached for comment.

Nice, an Akron native, was sworn in June 3, 2011, as the 15th chief of the department.

Nice came to the Akron Police Department after 26 years as an agent with the FBI. He was the first chief in the city’s history not hired from within the ranks of Akron’s officers.

Nice described morale at the police department as low when he arrived. The city had lacked a police chief since 2008 before he was hired by former Mayor Don Plusquellic.

Plusquellic opted to let former Police Chief Michael Matulavich’s contract expire in 2008 to seek new leadership from outside of the city, a move that displeased some of Akron’s finest.

Nice, a 1972 graduate of Kenmore High School, received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Akron in 1980 after serving in the U.S. Navy from 1973 through 1976, according to his biography. He worked at the FBI from 1985 to 2011, starting as a special agent and then rising to supervisory roles.

The mayor’s announcement comes two days after a handcuffed 17-year-old shot and killed himself Friday night in the back of an Akron police vehicle minutes after the teen and two others were picked up following a robbery in Kenmore, police said.

It wasn’t clear whether the shooting was a suicide or an accident. The incident is being investigated by Akron police, its internal affairs unit and the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office, police said.

Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com.