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As police break ground for new HQ, questions remain in search for next chief

Posted at 5:01 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 19:39:24-05

CLEVELAND — As Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams stood at the groundbreaking for the department's new $107 million headquarters, he called the accomplishment one of the proudest of his career.

"I mean it's needed," said Williams. "It's been needed for a long time."

But when the new 180,000 square foot building at the corner of Opportunity Corridor and East 75th Street opens in four years, Williams will be retired.

After nearly eight years as Cleveland's top cop, he's retiring on January 3.

Wednesday, Mayor-Elect Justin Bibb announced Deputy Chief Wayne Drummond will serve as interim chief.

Drummond, a 32-year veteran of the department, rose through the ranks and command staff with Williams.

"Right now, as the interim, he's a perfect choice to get us through that gap, and then we'll see what happens after that," said Williams.

But there are still lots of unanswered questions about what happens after that.

In a news release, Bibb announced he'll use a search firm to look both locally and nationally for a permanent police chief.

The mayor-elect also said community engagement would help shape expectations of the department's next leader.

But how much will the city pay to conduct that search, and how long will take?

A Bibb spokesperson said the mayor-elect was out-of-town and not available for an interview, and didn't provide answers to questions about the process.

The spokesperson also did not answer whether Drummond expressed an interest in becoming the next chief.

When asked Thursday Williams said that was a question best answered by Drummond.

However, a police spokesperson said Drummond wasn't available either.