CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney is stepping down. The word leaked out on a Friday afternoon before a major holiday, which is when government entities typically share unpleasant news.
Pinkney has been Sheriff since 2015. He has been with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office since 1991, serving as deputy, detective, sergeant, lieutenant and chief deputy.
Pinkney has also worked alongside the FBI Gang Task Force, as well as the US Marshal's Violent Fugitive Task Force, DEA and other federal and local agencies.
Pinkney's department has been under some fire. It was the subject of a massive investigation and eight months of scrutiny concerning a series of inmate deaths and terrible jail conditions and protocol, which was outlined in a report released last year by the U.S. Marshals Office.
Cuyahoga County council member Michael Gallagher and other county leaders believe Pinkney tried to do a good job, but that he was held back by a Cuyhoga County administration that exerted too much control.
Gallagher said he and other Cuyahoga County council members will propose to once again have the county sheriff's job be an elected position, not a position appointed by the administration, at a May 28 meeting. Gallagher believes an elected sheriff would have the freedom to be more effective.
"The administration was stepping over the line in the administration of the jail and the Sheriff's Department, we can't have that, it just can't work that way," Gallagher said. "We need to go back to the ballot for the people to decide, to be held accountable as the Sheriff of Cuyahoga County to run things, not have the administration run things."
Pinkney's departure from the sheriff's office is expected to be officially announced next week. His last day in office will be Aug. 3.
The county issued the following brief statement Friday evening:
“We thank him for his service and the search for his replacement begins immediately.”