COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - The graduation of the 135th Cleveland Police Cadet Class was a happy time for the families and friends of the 44 graduates. Chief Calvin Williams disregarded his prepared remarks, instead speaking from the heart telling them "The RNC, the DOJ, the Cavs in the playoffs. This is a great time to be in law enforcement folks. A great time to be in law enforcement."
His message was crystal clear to the men and women who are the next generation to patrol the streets of Cleveland. It was also a clear message to the community.
"We have to get on board with change in order to make these things this profession that we call law enforcement work," Williams told them. "To make it progress. Things that remain stagnant tie."
One change the city has embraced is moving the training to the State Police Academy. It has been a contentious event between the city and CPPA, the police union. The union claims it won't be free as advertised; that overtime, travel and meals with cost more than training in Cleveland. Safety Director Michael McGrath doesn't have the numbers yet, but is a return to Columbus very possible. He summed it up, saying "We're assessing this particular academy class now and we have the 136th that'll be coming up shortly here this summer and we're taking a look at it again, yes sir."
The deciding factor on if coming to Columbus is cost effective in large measure rests with a union complaint to the labor board on overtime. Cadets currently get only $10.50 an hour for 40 hours, yet they are in training much longer, and the Highway Patrol manual says they are actually on duty 23 1/2 hours a day.
That aside, Safety Director McGrath is impressed, telling Cleveland 19 "They graduated and I'm highly pleased with the results."
The cadets were dismissed and joined families after a chant of "All for one, one for all, CPD standing tall."
The cadets will return to Cleveland for six more weeks of training before being sworn in. Meanwhile, the number crunching and debate over Columbus will continue until all the numbers are in.
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