More Cleveland Police officers leaving department compared to last year

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland voters approved Issue 24 last November, which provides more oversight for Cleveland Police.

But Issue 24 continues to be a reason many officers cite for leaving the department, according to exit interviews we’ve obtained through public records.

The new Cleveland Police Commission is a step closer to becoming reality.

Twelve finalists are being interviewed this Tuesday and Wednesday by city council’s Mayor’s Appointments Committee.

The new 13-person commission, also referred to as CPC, will have the final say on police discipline and can overrule decisions made by the police chief and safety director.

Nearly 170 people applied for the job.

19 Investigates continues to track how many officers are leaving the department, in light of these changes coming to the department.

We found more CPD officers have left so far this year compared to last year.

The departures hit home in Cleveland, as a public safety recruiting crisis continues nationwide.

Cleveland Police have repeatedly said they are working on recruiting and retaining officers.

City records show the Cleveland Police Department lost 139 officers, including the former police chief, from January 1 through July 30 of this year.

During the same time last year, CPD lost 111 officers.

We discovered the number of officers leaving is up just over 25% this year compared to last year.

Reasons officers left the department, according to the records, include retirements, resignations, terminations and deaths.

We focused on officers who retired or quit and found in the first seven months of this year, 59 officers retired and 66 officers resigned.

Investigative reporter Hannah Catlett recently sat down with new Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond and asked him about Issue 24.

“How long is that going to take, where we’re not seeing officers still leaving?” Catlett asked.

“That’s a good question, obviously the CPC has to be established, they have to get their rules and regulations and everything. So it’s a process in itself before we actually start delving into our policies and our recruitment and training,” Drummond said.

Chief Drummond brought up recent changes made to address recruitment and retention, including higher wages for officers.

“So in the interim, as that’s taking place, my responsibility, our responsibility in the police department is to try to get people through the front door-- qualified individuals in the front door and let them know that they’re going to be treated with dignity and respect, they’re going to have decent wages and great benefits. And then they’re going to be supported by the division of police, the citizens here when they’re doing the right thing. And also if they’re not doing the right thing, they’ll be held accountable,” Drummond said.

There are many factors that may be contributing to CPD officers resigning and retiring, including higher pay in the suburbs.

It’s an issue the city continues to address to keep you safe in Cleveland.

Last year was a record year, with 187 officers leaving the department.

We’ll continue to track how many officers leave as the year continues.