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Cuyahoga County Sheriff Christopher Viland tenders resignation

3rd full-time sheriff to exit since 2019
Cuyahoga County Sheriff Christopher Viland.jpg
Posted at 4:45 PM, Apr 30, 2022

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County is bidding farewell to yet another sheriff. Christopher Viland, who has been in the position since last year, submitted his resignation on Friday.

"We thank him for dedicating himself to public service; supporting, growing, and training staff; and working tirelessly to improve the jail," said county spokesperson Mary Louise Madigan.

Madigan said Viland's reason for resigning was "personal," declining to specify beyond that.

She said Viland will stay on with the department through May to "ensure a seamless transition" and that the county executive and council will work on the recommendation and confirmation for an interim replacement.

Viland came to the role with 30 years of experience in law enforcement. He was appointed the first police inspector general for Cleveland’s Department of Public Safety, Division of Police, in 2019. Before that, he worked as the Chief of Solon Police Department from 2011-2019. Viland had been with the department from 1987, working in various roles, including patrol officer, detective, patrol sergeant, patrol lieutenant and detective lieutenant. He had more than 30 years experience in local law enforcement.

He also holds a Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and is a General Practice Attorney.

Change of command
Cuyahoga County has gone through multiple sheriffs since 2019.

Clifford Pickney served as sheriff from 2015 until 2019 when he resigned. He was replaced by David Schilling, who served just over a year before retiring.

Following that, Cuyahoga County County Executive Armond Budish appointed Joseph Greiner, a lieutenant with the sheriff's office, to serve as interim sheriff.

Viland was then tapped by Budish in January 2021 to become sheriff.

Troubled county jail
When Viland was confirmed sheriff in 2021, he inherited a role that had been mired in controversy for years, stemming from issues inside the Cuyahoga County Jail.

In 2018, News 5 shared numerous stories about what a U.S. Marshals report called "one of the worst jails in the country." The scathing inspection detailed "inhumane conditions," understaffing and inmate overpopulation at the county jail.

Former jail director Ken Mills stepped down that year after eight inmates died in custody in six months’ time. In 2021, Mills was found guilty of falsification and dereliction of duty and sentenced to nine months in jail.

In 2019, voters approved a ballot measure to amend the county charter. It was intended to bolster council oversight, expand training and education requirements and limit the county executive’s control over the sheriff’s position.

Another proposal would have returned the sheriff to a publicly elected role, but the measure never made it to the ballot.

CLICK HERE to read more Cuyahoga County Jail news and updates about the many problems at the troubled jail, including abuse, suicides, lawsuits, accidental releases and leadership issues.

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