CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — The union representing Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputies is caught by surprise following the resignation of Sheriff Christopher Viland.
Viland is stepping down after just over a year in the position and is the third sheriff to resign since 2019.
Colin Sikon with Laborers Local 860 says deputies just want consistency.
Viland’s resignation takes effect on May 22, according to a letter he submitted to the county executive last week.
“I was absolutely shocked, this came unexpected and very abrupt,” said Sikon.
In his resignation letter obtained by News 5, Viland expressed his appreciation for the opportunity and how his decision came after long and considered deliberation.
He writes he’ll use accrued leave for personal and medical issues.
“It’s unfortunate and I’m going to tell you it’s hard to build a team when your leader is a revolving door,” said Sikon.
Sikon speaks for the 160 or so Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputies.
He says a change like this isn’t good for morale.
“When a new sheriff comes in my deputies want to kind of get to know this guy wants to know what his plans are what’s his mission what does he want to do with the department and a year later he’s already leaving,” said Sikon.
Viland was sworn in as sheriff in March 2021.
His resignation comes as the county discusses plans for a new jail.
Sikon says Viland right away started updating policies for the county including some that were outdated.
He says that’s a concern with yet another sheriff taking the reins.
“Again he changed some policies some things as a union we did not agree with some we did. In 12 months, he’s out the door. We don’t know if these policies are going to stand or if the next guy is going to change them also,” said Sikon.
A county spokesperson said no one was available to discuss Viland’s resignation and there is no timeline for when an interim would be named.
Sikon says there needs to be a solid team in place.
“It’s hard to have direction a goal a plan without a solid leadership that’s in tact with this constant changing it’s kind of demoralizing guys don’t know what the mission is,” said Sikon.
News 5 did reach out to county council members.
Viland is expected to attend Tuesday’s public safety committee meeting.
You can read his resignation letter here.
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