CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Chief of Police, Lester Fultz, who makes $152,000 annually hasn't been a fully certified police officer in years. As Per the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Fultz didn't have the training hours needed to perform the functions of a certified peace officer.
That is - until our investigative team started looking into the lapse of training two months ago.
The Attorney General's Office told Cleveland 19 News Fultz lacked 15 hours of total training. Of those hours, four were needed from 2015, and 11 were needed from 2016. His commission was sent into a "cease function" mode until his training was up to date.
"One individual (Lester Fultz) is commissioned through Cuyahoga County, but is in "cease function" because the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission (OPOTC) has not received record showing that he completed the required Continued Professional Training (CPT) for 2015 and 2016" said the Attorney General's office in a statement to Cleveland 19 News on February 21 in response our February 17 inquiry.
In addition, the Attorney General's Office says that "Certified peace officers who have not completed the required CPT or have not provided proof that they have taken the required CPT go into "cease function," which means they cannot perform the duties of a peace officer until they provide proof to OPOTC that they met the CPT training requirements."
Fultz could only perform administrative duties. He couldn't male arrests, traffic stops, or take reports. He could only make a citizen's arrest, like any average Joe without a badge.
Contrast that with Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, routinely seen restoring order at a downtown protest or at the scene of a neighborhood shooting. Williams, who earns $27,000 less than Fultz, is a fully certified commissioned police officer per the Attorney General's Office. We checked other local law enforcement agencies with the AG's Office like Cleveland's RTA Police– where Chief John Joyce is also fully certified and commissioned. As is Chief Gary Lewis with Cleveland State University's Police Department and Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney. All fully certified and commissioned police officers.
Fultz's lack of credentials hadn't stopped him from spending several weeks a year flying to out of state conferences to learn about programs he wasn't technically permitted to personally use – while in "cease function" mode. Last school year, Fultz flew out to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the ARMS User Training Conference. ARMS, Automated Report Management Service, is used to enter police reports. Also, last year Fultz attended conferences in Miami and in Charlotte.
The school district has forked about more than $25,000 to send Fultz to conferences since his appointment. Next week, Fultz will be attending a conference in the "Big Easy" down in New Orleans. We obtained Fultz's travel records through a request of his personnel file. The records told us where he traveled and how much it cost, but there were no itemized receipts.
Cleveland 19 obtained a copy of Fultz's contract from CMSD showing an annual salary of about $152,000. In addition to that, previous contracts show he was given a $400 personal vehicle allowance. The chief can be seen responding to calls across the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, in his 2016 purple Jaguar instead of a CMSD police vehicle.
Big salary, lots of travel all on the tax payer's dime and the chief isn't fully trained.
After two months of investigating Fultz's lapsed training and obtaining documents from the AG's office confirming, we reached out to the chief on Wednesday, March 29th for a comment on his training, as well as Cleveland Schools. We have not heard back from the chief.
This afternoon, the Attorney General's Office contacted us to say that Chief Fultz is no longer in a "cease function" mode, having completed his missing training hours after our inquiries were made to the AG's office back in February and to CMSD headquarters and to Chief Fultz yesterday morning.
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