First African-American sheriff nominated for Cuyahoga County

RAW: Pinkney to become Cuyahoga County's first African-American sheriff
The announcement was made at a press conference Friday. (Source: WOIO)
The announcement was made at a press conference Friday. (Source: WOIO)

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish nominated Clifford Pinkney as new sheriff in a news conference Friday.

This is a historic announcement for the county. Pinkney would become the county's first African-American sheriff.  He still has to be confirmed by the county council.

Pinkney says he's extremely excited about his new role. If confirmed, he says he would modernize the sheriff's department and "continue to give our deputies the best training opportunities available."

He showed a very human side in his remarks.

"Thank you mom for believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself. Thank you for lifting me up when I was down," he said Friday.

In 2013, Sheriff Frank Bova promoted Pinkney to

chief, second in command to Sheriff Bova. Chief Pinkney was the county's first African-American chief with more than 23 years of service with the sheriff's department. He started as a deputy sheriff in 1991 and worked his way up through the ranks.

Current Sheriff Frank Bova will be moving up to a newly-created position, one with wide-ranging powers. As county safety and protection officer, he will oversee the sheriff, Medical Examiner's Office, Clerk of Courts, consumer protection and community safety branches of government.

"I see the role as being the conduit of all the public safety services within Cuyahoga County and streamline it so it comes into one central location to better service the residents," said Bova.

"We now have a more professional structure, I believe, which will be more efficient for county government," said Budish.

After three decades of rule by former Sheriff Jerry McFaul, the office has seen more rapid change. First, Bob Reed entered, replacing the deposed McFaul. Then Bova replaced Reed. Now, it is Pinkney's turn to prioritize.

"I would like to get a regional director of corrections as soon as possible," said Pinkney.

Bova will set his sights on safety for the Republican National Convention.  He and Pinkney both see the need for and will work for more cooperation between local law enforcement agencies.

Earlier this month, the city of Cleveland announced the investigation into the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice had been transferred to the sheriff's department. At the direction of Budish, the investigation is being conducted by Chief Pinkney. The sheriff's department will then present the completed investigation to the

for determination of possible charges.

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