New Cleveland Police chief hopes small changes like allowing beards will improve officer morale

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:34 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Some police officers in the city may now look a little more casual in ball caps.

That’s just one of the small changes coming to Cleveland Police that could have a big impact.

That’s what Cleveland’s new police chief hopes.

Chief Wayne Drummond is tackling morale and recruitment one step at a time.

He’s worn the badge in this city for more than three decades.

Mayor Justin Bibb announced he got the “top cop” spot Thursday. You can read more about it here.

Drummond is allowing officers to wear ball caps, and beards and show tattoos on the job.

Things like this are becoming more accepted at many police departments across the country as they struggle to attract recruits.

Here in Cleveland, 19 Investigates continue to report that CPD is losing officers to suburban departments and other cities.

One reason officers cite is morale.

We looked at the city’s 2021 year-end report focused on public safety recruitment.

Exit surveys, taken mostly by police officers who left the force, show 87 percent cite employee morale as something they would change.

One officer wrote “employee morale is suffering.”

Drummond said these seemingly small changes weren’t easy decisions to make. He called himself a “traditionalist” during the mayor’s announcement.

“You’ll see officers now with beards and tattoos. It’s something I struggled with, to be honest, but I know it’s important. It’s important for retention, it’s important for recruitment and so forth. These are the things I’m doing that are really small things, but important for officers as far as retention,” Drummond said.

Changes like this could also help make officers more relatable to the people they serve.

Chief Drummond really believes they can go a long way.

Columbus Police just recently changed over to ballcaps.

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