(EDITOR’S NOTE: Eye On Cleveland is planning to profile a few local election contests, City Council races, in September 2021. We’re beginning with Cuyahoga Falls, which Eye On Cleveland founder John Kerezy has called home since July 2018.)
SEPT. 3, 2001 — When he was a police officer in Cuyahoga Falls, Warren Capps saw first-hand the challenges some senior citizens face. “When a senior tries to make an unusually large withdrawal from a bank account, and there’s an unfamiliar person along with the senior, that’s a tell-tale sign that some fraud or abuse might be involved,” he explains. “We saw this over and over again, and there wasn’t a mechanism in place to protect senior citizens.”
Elder Law Attorney Marta Williger heard about Capps’ interest in this matter. That’s what led them to collaborate and create the CHECKS, or Citizens Helping Elderly Keep Savings, program. CHECKS developed training programs for tellers to help spot and prevent elder abuse and bank fraud. So now, when an elderly person who normally takes out $50 from a bank account is accompanied by a stranger and is requesting a $5,000 withdrawal, the teller first takes steps to verify the transaction.
Due to his work on CHECKS and other advocacy for seniors, Capps was named 2002 Elder Abuse Advocate of the Year by the Summit County Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition. Focusing on the needs of seniors, Capps developed an Elderly Crisis Response program for police and fire departments in Summit County. He assisted Summit County’s Department of Job & Family Services and Adult Protective Services in ways that police and fire can best assist and look out for the interests of seniors living independently in their homes.
“Over the years, I’ve become an expert on senior issues and I try to use this to help out both the elderly and their adult children,” Capps explains. “There is a complicated myriad of people involved with seniors: Children, lawyers, doctors, heirs and others. In a time of crisis, especially when some family members lives out of state, there has to be a mechanism to look out for the elderly. Support from Adult Protective Services just isn’t enough.
“As you age, be proactive and cooperate in your life’s decisions with your trusted loved ones,” Capps adds. “When a crisis happens, if you did not plan for the unexpected, the system (medical, courts, police and fire, etc.) may well force a decision you don’t want to happen.”
FIRST IN A SERIES
As a police officer, Capps trained at the Northeast Ohio University College of Medicine to become a Crisis Intervention Team member. He also created a program to combat underage drinking, titled “None For Under 21” with the Ohio Dept. of Transportation. There were 50-plus high schools and 5,000 seniors in schools in Summit County who participated in this program. Live Nation awarded the Cuyahoga Falls Police Dept. $35,000 to help support “None for Under 21” as well.
After leaving the police department, Capps devoted himself to growing and developing his own custom construction company. He hadn’t given a lot of additional thought to public service. Then came the elections of 2016 and 2020.
“Donald Trump set a powerful example. He proved that a person who doesn’t have a background or experience as an elected official can make a tremendous improvement in government,” Capps notes. “I’m running for that same type of reason. I want to get our City Council to advocate for those vulnerable voices in my Ward and in our City who have been ignored or forgotten.
Capps points out that his Ward – which is the largest geographically in Cuyahoga Falls – has a lot of needs. “We have infrastructure developed in the 1950s and ‘60s, but we’ve seen great growth in residential housing and the support hasn’t kept up with the population. Roads are crumbling, and storm sewers need attention.
“We also need to streamline city services, reduce unnecessary layers of bureaucracy, and get to creating legislation and policies which match the best practices for communities of our size. We’re the second biggest municipality in Summit County, but we see way too many decisions being made behind closed doors. There’s a lack of communication, a lack of transparency, in Cuyahoga Falls government.”
Ward Eight in Cuyahoga Falls is roughly “L” shaped. It is bounded by State Road, running north and south from approximately West Portage Trail Extension to Akron to Boston Heights and Boston Twp. Blossom Music Center is in Ward Eight, and the ward continues westward adjacent to Akron and Bath around Riverview Road.
FAST FACTS ON
- Native of North Carolina
- Four years in the U.S. Marine Corps
- Three years of criminal justice and political science studies at the University of Akron
- 16 years in law enforcement, including with the West Shore Enforcement Bureau (drug agent) and the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department
- 17 years small business owners (RAW Custom Construction)
- 30 years as a basketball coach, six years as an OHSAA-licensed basketball official
- Two grown children, three grandchildren
- Spouse Meredith Capps, 7th grade mathematics teacher
Ward 8 Cuyahoga Falls City Council, one of 11 council seats in the City of Cuyahoga Falls, a community of 50,000 in the middle of Summit County.
Salary: $20,325 in 2020
Incumbent: Frank Stams (Democrat, elected in 2019)
Interview with Warren Capps, September 1-2, 2021
Capps for Council website
NEXT AT EYEONCLEVELAND — Is there a gospel message in Harry Potter? A Northeast Ohio man thinks so, and he’s written a book about it. Details soon.