CLEVELAND - Two Cleveland police officers working in the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit were demoted, and a third officer received a suspension, for letting 60 cases go uninvestigated.
Police chief Calvin Williams conducted an administrative review of a detective who was assigned to the unit that handles crimes against children and rape cases. Safety director Michael McGrath conducted a disciplinary hearing for all three officers involved in the case and decided to go ahead with the recommended disciplinary actions against the officers.
Commander James McPike will be demoted to captain, and sergeant Tom Ross, who was the detective at the time responsible for the 60 cases, was demoted to patrol officer. Sergeant Anthony McMahan was suspended for 15 days.
Williams said there are already programs in place to make sure cases don't go uninvestigated but wouldn't elaborate any further. The 60 cases that went uninvestigated have since been reassigned to other investigators and are either closed or under investigation within the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit.
Williams said an internal audit showed Ross was the only detective at the time that left 60 cases unresolved.
"We are in the process of making sure we staff all the units and operations within the division to a level they can operate," Williams said.
Williams said staffing was not an issue in this particular instance.
"Staffing is always an issue. People come and go from all these specialized units, but as the mayor stated, there were things in this particular case that had nothing to do with staffing. There were things that happened in the case that shouldn't have happened," said Williams.
Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said staffing is an issue and called for more officers to be recruited and hired throughout the division.
"It wears them out. It's demoralizing. When you think we are going home after a 10-hour shift and to say, 'Hey, you can't home right now.' We are people. We have families, we have kids, we have responsibilities, but we are going to protect the citizens," said Follmer.
The Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit is currently fully staffed, said Williams.