From Jamaica to Cedar and 95th to interim police chief: Wayne Drummond's journey of community

Read the full transcript of his interview with News 5
Posted at 5:00 AM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 08:06:14-04

CLEVELAND — This month, 33 years ago, Wayne Drummond joined the Cleveland Division of Police. He was promoted in 2000 to the rank of sergeant. Two years later, he made lieutenant. In 2005, he was appointed to the rank of commander, overseeing the division's Fifth District. In 2014, he became deputy chief of field operations, leading five neighborhood districts. On Jan. 3, 2022, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb administered the oath of office to Drummond as the interim chief of police, and it’s in that role that he was invited to the Voices for Change podcast to discuss his transition into the interim chief position as well as the challenges facing the Cleveland Police Department right now.

Listen here and read the transcript below:

Minor edits have been made to this interview for clarity and brevity.

Danita Harris: All right. So let's just kick things off. Let's talk about officer retention. CPD is down over 240 officers. A lot of the officers are retiring, resigning. Some are leaving to work for suburban police departments. So what is the department doing in the recruiting process to make being a Cleveland police officer attractive?

Wayne Drummond: You know, Danita, we're having a big problem with retention. That's huge. Retention is huge for us, and I'll get into some of the reasons why. And also, just as important is recruitment. That's the difficult thing for us in the division of police. Not only the division of police but throughout the United States. It's not unique for us. It's just really difficult across the United States. So what we're trying to do is recruit as many qualified individuals as possible through the Department of Public Safety. We have a public safety recruitment unit that's dedicated to individuals from the fire department, EMS, as well as police, and is dedicated to finding individuals, again, qualified individuals, to come to the ranks of, again, EMS, fire and police. It's pretty challenging today, and it's for various reasons I believe, and these are some of my theories and so forth. You know, part of it is, I think, the vilification of some law enforcement officers. I think that's part of it, a societal change and their trust of law enforcement, and not everyone, because I believe overall that the vast majority of people really want to respect the police and want the police to do their job. I believe that there's a small minority that don't. But still, that makes it very difficult in recruiting. Also important is salaries. You know, let's talk, honestly, salaries. To start here in the Cleveland Division of Police is about $54,000. That's what would start off, roughly about $54,000, and contractionaly, only after several years, you top out roughly around 67 or 68. That's very difficult to compete with suburban departments who are paying much more than that or top out close to $80,000 or even higher. So that's an issue here. There's no question about it. Currently, we're in negotiations, so I can't get into some of the details and I'm not part of those negotiations. That's done through a Department of Human Resources, but that's part of it as well. It's not the only reason, but that's part of it. What's attractive for the Cleveland Division of Police is the opportunities, you know, the opportunities to get promoted, such as myself, the various units that we have, domestic violence units, homicide unit, squad, K-9. I can go on and go on – so many different opportunities that one can have here. Some of our suburban counterparts, great police departments, however, they're much smaller. So the opportunities to advance are much smaller versus here, you have a tremendous amount of opportunity for advancement.

Harris: Is this one of the top issues when you took over this interim position? Is that something that hit you the hardest as an issue you need to deal with your division?

Drummond: Yes. It's one of the biggest issues I face. There are tons of issues. Don't get me wrong. Obviously, homicide's huge, because we're talking the loss of lives in very tragic ways and awful ways. But we need individuals out there in the streets protecting the streets and so forth and providing quality service to our citizens and community. But recruitment and retention is huge because in order for us to provide the service, we need the individuals out there. So, that was one of the issues that I have and what can I do and what can we do? Because I want to make it singular. What can we do as a command staff, as a city to try to retain officers because we're losing them? To your point, suburban departments and also not only suburban departments, major departments like Columbus, you know, Columbus was recently here in our city recruiting heavily. And I can tell you tonight it's really difficult to compete against Columbus, where Columbus came here after one year of being a police officer, you're already certified. They're offering $68,000 if you have at least five years.

Harris: To start?

Drummond: Yeah. So if you have five years of experience, they were offering $90,000. So it's very difficult to compete with that. And to be honest with you, Columbus is a little bit of an outlier relative to salaries and so forth. And the officers should be paid their worth, there's no question about it. So, again, we're going through the recruitment process, I'm sorry, the negotiation process. So we'll see what that ultimately ends up. But there are other ways to retain officers, because we're losing officers, unfortunately. And part of it is to find out what they would really want and need. Believe it or not, something as simple as beards and tattoos. Now, in the city of Cleveland, you can't have beards. It’s clean shaving and so forth. What's really important to them is beards and tattoos. So we're looking into that. I have my staff looking at policies throughout the United States. And so that's something we have to take a look at. So I'm trying to look at low hanging fruit to help retain officers, and that's also a recruiting tool as well. So we have to adjust with society in these times.

Harris: And there are a lot of different things in this time that employees are looking for, not just in police departments, but in all industries, that people have switched their thinking and the pandemic has shifted what people value and what they need in order to perform, you know, on a job, and so beards and tattoos is something that you may not thought five years ago you were looking to, but it's definitely something now. Let's talk about the staffing issue, because when Mayor Justin Bibb was on the podcast, I asked him about that, and he said it is important to have a fact-based conversation about the level of deployment we have in our police department and what the right staffing model looks like. He said, “I'm working with my leadership in the police department on are we deploying our officers in a more appropriate way to fight violent crime?” Do you agree with the mayor's assessment and if so, what is being done in this model? What should it look like?

Drummond: I agree with the mayor. The mayor and I are basically lockstep. But we are in full agreement. We have conversations. As a matter of fact, I talk to the mayor probably several times a week, sometimes several times a day. We have a great relationship, and he's right. Part of being in leadership is reevaluating deployment of our officers to make sure that we're efficient in what we do and that people are in the right place. That's part of the process. Now, it's a little more complicated. I'm not going to go into the process itself, but we re-evaluate our deployment and see, again, if we have the right people in the right place, that we don't have people behind a desk that shouldn't be, that they should be on the road assisting with the calls for service and so forth. So that's an ongoing process. We try to reevaluate our deployment car plans probably every three years. I'm in the process of doing that again. And, again, it's a complicated process, but I have very dedicated and competent individuals that are working on it right now as we speak. So, yeah, there's going to be a point because sometimes staffing and deployment, there's going to be some changes in our car plan to ensure that we have sufficient amount of people on the road answering calls for service.

Harris: Well, let's go now to the Community Police Commission. We know that initiative was approved by voters last fall, and it was giving the community a strong voice when it comes to police discipline reform. There have been 281 applicants for only 13 seats on this commission. I think it speaks volumes to how people in the community want to be engaged. They want to be involved in police reform. How do you feel about this?

Drummond: That's a really good question. I can tell you that our officers are very nervous about it because we're talking about potentially civilian oversight. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to have civilian oversight. I think the commission in itself, if implemented properly, could be good for the division of police and, obviously, the voters have spoken like you said, and we're going to move forward with the entire process. It's important to understand that we've made, the division of police that is, we've made significant, significant changes just in the last several years. As you know, we're in a consent decree from the federal government with a monitoring team here. It's under Judge (Solomon) Oliver, a federal judge. And because of that, and not only because of that, we've made significant changes for the good. Some people may not think so, but I can tell you unequivocally, 33 years as you started out saying, 33 years as a police officer, 33 years ago compared to now, is night and day. And this division of police from five years ago, it's night and day in a positive way. I'm telling you that from the bottom of my heart, this is a totally different police department.

Harris: Explain and paint a picture. What was it, and what is it now?

Drummond: When coming on, we were more of a warrior mentality. It really was. It was more of go out there, just take care of business and so forth. When I mean warrior, we just were quick to react versus kind of just relaxing, not relaxing, that's a bad word to choose. We were quick to react rather than coming in, truly evaluating, taking our time, slowing things down, evaluating the process, the system, de-escalating as much as possible before we actually went in there and actually put hands on people. So that's completely changed. Now we're guardians. We are guardians first. That's our mentality. That's our police academy. That's how we push it towards our people and instruct our people. We're guardians first, and we can always turn on that warrior when we need to, but we have to start up as guardians to slow things down, give people a voice. And I can tell you again, and just to be very honest, folks really didn't have a voice when I first came on. Not at least enough of a voice. Whereas today they have a voice. Procedural justice. You have to have people give people the opportunity to explain what's going on, because it could be legitimate reasons why they're doing the things that they're doing. And also, it's important, and it's different. You have to meet people where they are. You really have to meet people where they are and give people sometimes a benefit of the doubt to explain things and then move on from there other than just, you know, they're automatically guilty of things. And that's changed completely in this police department. I had the opportunity to review quite a few use of forces, and I can tell over the last several years how the uses of forces have gone down. They've gone down because our officers are again taking their time, resorting back to their training, giving people voice, slowing things down and de-escalating. So we're not getting as physical as we used to. We still have to, there's no question about it. But when we do, it's as simple as handcuffing someone, taking someone to the ground, it's not strikes, it's not tasering, it's not pepper spraying and so forth. It's actually just manipulation, getting people down and getting them under control versus more physical punching, kicking and so forth. Those numbers come down significantly.

Q-and-A with interim Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond

Harris: You know, I had someone on the podcast, Dr. Jackie Acho, who works with the Fourth District Police, and something called, we may not value it, but it works and is needed in every police department, it's empathy. And the empathy training that's going on with the Cleveland Police Department and teaching them how to have that empathy when they arrive on the scene. How to talk, how to behave. How have you seen that changed some of your officers?

Drummond: Yes. That's part of that procedural justice that we're talking about slowing things down. And you have to empathize. And that's what's meeting people where they are because you just don't know the backstories of people. You just don't know their backstory. So it's important that you empathize with people as you come to find out what their situations may be, because of what you need to understand that, and our folks need to understand, and I think they do, is that we're no different from anyone else. And my expectation for my people is that I don't care if a person is sleeping on a grate or they're living in a $1 million house. The expectation from my office and my staff is that everyone's treated the same with dignity and respect. I can care less what their station in life is.

Harris: We're all human beings.

Harris: When we speak about those voices, as we know in all things, there are voices who know the good and voiced the good, and then there are voices that will challenge some of the things that are happening with the police department right now. There are people who have been very critical of some things happening in CPD, the families right now who are navigating through their grief after losing a loved one, and homicide detectives not able to solve the cases in a timely manner, and in some cases unsolved for many, many years to come. They are trying to navigate grief, also anger. I want to know who killed my son. I want to know who killed my daughter. You have voices like Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, who is still voicing her pain, her anger, about what happened with Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Tamir Rice, still trying to get that case reopened. How do you process that information that you're getting from those voices, those activists, even as interim chief? What is your plan and how to deal with that? Do you want to meet with these people who have the opposing voice to what's happening or at least a different voice? Are you sensitive to that?

From Jamaica to Cedar and 95th to interim police chief: Wayne Drummond's journey of community

Drummond: Absolutely sensitive to it. The things you just mentioned, and you know, they have every right to be angry, to be sad. Still grieving. I certainly understand that. And no one takes it personal. Like Samaria Rice, you mentioned. You know, she lost her baby. You know, so you have to understand that, sympathize with that. And I do and have no issues with how she feels. I have none whatsoever. I would meet with those individuals and talk with them. And I can tell you that there are homicide detectives, they're doing their best. Part of helping them solve these crimes is the general public, you know, whatever information that they may have. And there are some people out there that have information that can give a little bit of information, because all we need is just a little bit of information. The detectives that we have assigned to a homicide unit are really good at what they do.

Harris: But they have heavy caseloads.

Drummond: They do, yes. There's no question about it. And we try to augment them by having officers in our detectives units, various officers detail, we call the term detail, there to assist them in the process of obviously solving some of these cases that we have.

Harris: Now, how do you attract homicide detectives? Because we know that's another area where you could use some more help.

Drummond: Well, it's pretty easy because we have quite a few people that want to become homicide detectives. It's a process that they apply for the job. Once they apply for the job, there's training involved. Not just because you want to be a homicide detective doesn't mean you're going to become a homicide detective. It's a process. It's an interview process. We have contractual obligations as well. Then once the selection process is made with the officers, then they go through training and generally they have a detective experience. They're generally coming from a district detective unit where they've investigated cases for assaults, robberies and so forth, probably several years before they make it to the homicide unit. Then they have advanced training and schooling relative to homicide investigations and so forth. It's a process. We believe we have some of the best, and those that apply are some of the best officers, and they go through a process, vetting process, and we believe we select some of the best officers to become homicide detectives.

Harris: So what would you say to those families who are still waiting to see if the cases would be solved? What would you say to them?

Drummond: I say to them that we're doing our very best. We are and we care. We have a homicide commission. It’s what it's called. We have special agents from the FBI assigned full time. We have individuals from the prosecutor's office, county prosecutor's office, assigned full-time detectives on the homicide unit. That's all they do. We have analysts assigned, and all they do is look at evidence, previous evidence. If they can find additional evidence, maybe there's something that may have been missed in a case, and that's all they do. They are dedicated to trying to find just a little bit of clue that can hopefully bring someone to justice and give some of the family some solace. Some solace is what we're trying to do to help the families out and just help them out as best we can by, of course, bringing the person to justice. You know, so we're doing our very best. And I believe our homicide unit's doing their very best.

Harris: Well, you mentioned something about it just takes that little something. That requires witnesses or people. If you know something, say something. Is that true? How are we on the trust level and the trust meter here with the community and the police so that people won't feel intimidated or feel like I'm not telling them anything? Where are we on that meter right now?

Drummond: Obviously, there's some issues with trust. There's no question about it. It could be part of the reason why we're not getting some information we need to solve some of these crimes. It's a very good question. That’s part of my responsibility — not just mine. If I come across as a singular, it isn't, because it's about we, we in the division of police, and it's to develop a way to increase the trust with the general public. Part of that is community engagement. Part of that is being involved in a community when it's not an enforcement mode, you know what I mean? When you're pulling someone over, giving them a citation and so forth, I'm talking about meeting folks where they are, getting out the cars, walking into a neighborhood and not a business area necessarily, but right to a neighborhood. Get out the car, walk down the street, see someone on the porch, stop and engage with them. You know, like our guys do. Our guys do quite a bit of that, but we need to do that more consistently. We actually carve out time when the officers get out of their cars and just engage with people and just talk to them, let them know we're just like anyone else. We're mothers and fathers, we're brothers or sisters. Yes, we eat as well. Those types of things, then you have an understanding of each other, and I think people are more inclined to trust you, build that trust, and then they're more inclined again to give you information that helps solve some of these crimes out here.

Harris: If I get to know you and something that's not an enforcement scene, I think that's key. Tell us what are some things that are already in place with the police department to engage the community that would promote that type of feeling, to increase the level of trust? What do you have going already?

Drummond: We have quite a bit going on. We have in each of the districts, we have community engagement officers and so forth and they attend various meetings and various functions. We have safety fairs. We have safety fairs in all of the districts, and that's when we bring out our mounted unit, or K-9, motorcycles. If we can, the aviation unit. And again, just engaging with people and talking to people. We have a community relations unit that's also very involved and engaged. They do what I call safety audits, which means if a store is having issues, we can assign an officer from our community relations to go there and actually do an assessment of the property and give them recommendations on how to increase safety and also homes as well. Not just businesses, but also homes. They have the ability and training to also give an assessment, safety assessment for homeowners. So I think that's part about, again, engaging and providing a service to the community because we're part of the community. We're not an island to ourselves. We're part of the community. And again, part of it is just bicycles. We have our guys out on bicycles, just driving around and engaging and again, not necessarily enforcement. It's important that we have enforcement, but it's much deeper than that. It's obviously getting out, engaging with our folks and with our community and talking with people. I think that's the key to it.

Harris: Would you say, and I think this has to be a factor as well, there used to be a time in communities and neighborhoods where I'll just say, if your parents weren't home, Ms. Johnson saw you, Ms. Johnson would tell. You know, we knew our neighbors. So we knew what was happening next door or three or four doors down from us. But now we live in a time where people close their windows, shut their doors. I don't know, don't want to know, because there's almost a fear sometimes, you know? And I think that has to be a factor in how you are obtaining information on certain crimes that are happening.

Drummond: Sure. And I think it's important. That's a very good point, that growing up at 95th and Cedar, where my mom still lives. Hi, mom. We were actually on the front porches, to your point, people are now on their decks and so forth, so there's not that engagement that I'm talking about with neighbors. For the most part, some people do it, but for the most part, people are in backyards and on decks in the backyard. At a time of folks walking down the street, folks sitting on a front porch and engaging, a lot of that's gone and lost. So there's not that community it once was. And some folks have gone in the communities that are heavily involved and watch out for one another. But if we can get back to that type of engagement, I think it makes a huge difference when you're watching out for each other, get the information and then pass that information on to us. But I think what's helping as well is technology, you know, with the doorbell, ring doorbells and cameras everywhere, so we have the ability to hopefully capture some of the things that are happening out in our community.

Harris: I'm glad you said technology. I wanted to talk about what we're seeing lately. We've been reporting on the news, these drivers who are doing donuts in the middle of a busy intersection, and the drones would help so much with the police trying to catch these guys.

Drummond: We have to use technology. There's no question about it. This is a different time, an era that we have to utilize technology to make us more efficient. Drones are one of the things that we're looking at through the Public Safety Department and Director (Karrie) Howard, he's been visiting different police departments and cities. That's utilizing drone technology. We're hopeful that we can get that implemented here. We're just going through a process to make sure that we are within compliance with the Constitution so it's not a big brother thing and folks think we're just capturing information, and that's not it whatsoever. We want to make sure that we do it right, that we're talking to the ACLU and the different attorneys and so forth, (the) NAACP to make sure that we are implementing this properly so we can leave, hopefully some of their fears relative to us watching them and capturing information. But to your point about the cars that are taking over the streets and doing donuts, part of that has to be intelligence-led, part of that drone, and cameras. And so from capturing information and also folks, if they know it's going on, to give us a call so we can get there and hopefully stop some of it. Because what happens in some of those situations when they take over an intersection, we'll get the calls, our cars will respond, and they'll take off as we're coming because they have lookouts, as soon as our cars start driving that way, they take off. We certainly don't want to get into a high speed chase over what’s pretty much a traffic offense.

Harris: How has cell phone footage helped you with citizens and what they shoot before you get there? Has that aided you a lot?

Drummond: Yes, absolutely. It has helped us in our investigation, not just with that, but other things. So that's why I mean about technology. As you know, things are being filmed continuously.

Harris: Everywhere you go, there's a camera everywhere.

Drummond: If there's a phone, there's a camera. Things are constantly being filmed. That's using technology to help us in our investigations and quite a few times actually helped us solve crimes just from the technology that people have and surveillance that they capture.

Harris: Can you explain to me, chief, your no-chase policy. The weather is getting warmer, and we had this issue. We've been having it with these dirt bikers that come through. We show it on the news. But your no-chase policy. Tell me what are the challenges, the benefits of that when it comes to something like the dirt bike riders?

Drummond: Excellent question. And first, I want to clarify that we have a pursuit policy.

Harris: Oh, let's get the right terminology. Okay. The pursuit policy.

Drummond: I think there is a belief that there is a no-chase policy in the City of Cleveland. What we have is, we have a pursuit policy that's narrowly tailored. It's very strict. There's no question about it, and it's for a reason. Our policy pretty much states that it has to be a felony, a violent felony and DUI and a few other things that will necessitate or allow the officers to engage in a pursuit. But there are also other responsibilities that the officers have to take into consideration. Time, time of day, conditions of the road, location, all of those things. For example, let's just say a car takes off. One of those cars doing the donuts in the middle of the street, which is frustrating, really frustrating. Let's just say they take off flying down the street, and I'm going to use the Fourth District, let's say Lee and Harvard area, let's say by JFK High School. It's three (o’clock) in the afternoon. Kids get out of school. They're flying down the street at 70, 80 miles per hour, trying to get away from us. My expectation - time, location, is that the officers will not engage in a pursuit. If they did, my expectation is that the supervisor will terminate that because of the conditions again. Two o’clock, three o’clock, kids get out of school. Heavy traffic. The possibilities of something tragic happening are much, much higher. So we have to take that into consideration. However, the dirt bikes, ATVs and so forth, it's extremely frustrating for me as well. And you have to attack them in different ways and so forth. And some of the things that we're doing, I can't talk to right now. We have our partnerships, Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Harris: But you are working on something.

Drummond: We are definitely working on something legislative as well. We're working with our partners as well. And then obviously, the biggest help, to be honest with you, is our community. Our community, seeing these things when you're starting to mass, to give us a call. Before we get started, because generally they're coming somewhere, they're starting up, they kind of posse-up someplace, and people see that. If we can get those calls and so forth well in advance, that will help us to get our resources together and hopefully head that off at the pass, so to speak. So don't even get started. We have again different plans in place and different options and that we're working on to deal with this. So yeah, we have different things that we're working on.

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Harris: Everything I'm hearing you say, pretty much every question I'm asking you, the community plays a role. Community plays a role in the safety of Cleveland, almost like you're looking for a better partnership, a better partnership, or shall we say a better marriage between the two - community and police. It's got to get better.

Drummond: Yeah, absolutely. And it is a marriage. Sometimes it's rocky, sometimes it's really good.

Harris: Right.

Drummond: Sometimes you have issues that you have to work on and so forth. I think for the most part, the community helps us. I think it can help us more by providing this information because it is a partnership. I'm telling you, the division of police or another police department can't do it alone. I know it's been said, it's probably cliche. You know, we can't do it alone. We truly need the community in order to really do our job effectively. We have to have the help of the community to help us do our job and do it effectively, provide us information when they see things or if they see something is starting, get that information to us. Then it's incumbent upon us and law enforcement, specifically the division of police, to make sure we get out there and take care of business the way folks want us to.

Harris: Chief, we're already in the eighties. Summer is on its way. Usually when the temperatures go up, we see an increase in the homicides in the city. What things are you putting in place now? Any strategies to curb what we usually see in summer.

Drummond: You're right. With warm temperatures sometimes bad behavior increases, unfortunately. But we have our partnerships and again going back to partnerships, we have our partnerships with the federal agencies. We have task force officers with the FBI, ATF and other federal agencies, and the sheriff department works hand-in-hand with them. We have our violent crime reduction teams in all five districts that work with our gang impact squads. They're heavily involved in initiatives targeting hotspot areas. These are laser-focused strategies to go into areas where we have a lot of gun issues, and they target those areas and look for individuals that are creating the most havoc. Because what I can tell you is that there's a small percentage of people that create the biggest problems. So those are the individuals that we target, we look for, we target. So some of the strategies, again, involve our federal partners, laser-focused attention to those individuals, those areas that we're having problems in. We don't use a blanket approach. We want to get the individuals that are responsible, that create the problems in our neighborhoods, the gun, the trigger-pullers and so forth, identifying them and getting them out of our communities.

Harris: You know, I have to ask you this. You've been in the police department for quite some time. I opened up saying how long you've been there, your qualifications. Has it hit you yet that you have transitioned to being interim chief of the department? And how does that feel for you?

Drummond: I don't know if it's hit me, to be honest with you. I've been doing it for four months now, almost five months. And I don't know, because I was a deputy chief of field operations and worked hand-in-hand with a prior chief, worked hand-in-hand with the mayor and work hand-in-hand with this mayor as well. So a lot of things that I'm doing now I did as a deputy chief, but it's on a higher level. A lot of meetings, sitting down with the various leaders, kind of come up with the strategies to help calm some of the crime that's taking place, dealing with internal issues, so the job of policing can be very difficult. And then being a leader, you know that things really fall on your shoulders to get these things done. And one thing I can tell you about me is that I don't take things personal. I don't. I think we have a job to do. I have a job to do. And a job is to provide the best possible service to the community, coupled with making sure we provide our people. And yes, that's the officers, the men and women that work with the division of police, which, by the way, I think do a really good job. I think the vast majority of the men and women that go out there every day and take care of business are just doing what's best for the city of Cleveland, the community and so forth. So for me, it's providing the best service and keeping our officers safe by giving them the right equipment and tools to do their job.

Harris: How important is it for you as the interim chief to be seen, let's say, out and about in the community? Not just the officers, but seeing the chief out and about at a school, at an event. Do you plan to do more of that?

Drummond: I do. I think it's all those things that you're talking about. You know, you say not just the officers, but it's important as well for the officers because we have, you know, 1,400 officers right now. It's important for them to see the chief as well, because we can get so busy and bogged down with meetings and the other commitments and so forth that the officers really don't see you. They really don't see you. So it's important that they see you as well. You get out and talk to them and just sit with them. And so we're not in a formal setting. Just really, hey, how are you doing today? You know, just kind of sit up and show up and just start talking about things. And equally as important, to go out to the schools, go to the preschools and so forth. I enjoy reading to the kids. As a matter of fact, I have one coming up.I'm going to go read to some kids, it's important. Doing things like this, getting out, let people know that the police officer is no different from anyone else. I think sometimes people seem to think that we're different. We're not. I have to say, like I said before: husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and grandparents. I'm a grandfather. It's important people understand. So you do that by getting out, engaging and talking to people like we're doing now.

Harris: How did a little baby born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, mon, how did that little baby boy go from Jamaica to Cedar in Cleveland?

Drummond: I tell you what, I look back on it and, you know, I know I'm in uniform here, but I give honor, glory to God. I have to. I know people may take exception to that, but I don't. My mother. Hey, mom, again, I have to say hi again. Brought her three boys. I have two brothers, one younger one, one older. Let me back up — she actually came up here in the late sixties, established herself, had herself a really good job and worked her butt off, left my brothers and I with our grandmother in Jamaica. Montego Bay, actually. Great River right outside Montego Bay. Came up here, established herself a couple of years later, came back and got her boys, brought us up here, moved to East 95th that we talked about. And she's still there. And you look back on it, and it's a very interesting story. I grew up in a shack. You know, when I say a shack, I mean a shack. You've been to Jamaica?

Harris: Yes, I have. Yes, I know what you mean.

Drummond: Yeah, that's what I grew up in. No running water, no electricity. Outhouse, and the kitchen itself was also just a little shack. That's what I grew up in. We caught our water by rain barrels. That's what I came from. So mine is a story to let folks know that anything is possible. Anything is possible. A kid growing up and born in Jamaica is now interim chief of the Cleveland Division of Police. I came from basically nothing. And here I am. My mother, God, I get emotional about.

Harris: I see I'm looking at your eyes right now and I know this is a podcast, but I mean, I'm seeing the emotion in your eyes right now when you're reflecting.

Drummond: Yeah, because mainly for my mother, who sacrificed so much to get her boys up here so they can take care of business, have a foundation to build upon, get themselves educated, get good jobs, hopefully, and be a contributing individuals to society, which is what we're doing right now.I hope people can use me as an example that you can do just about anything in life if you have a foundation. We have the foundation, part of my foundations for my mother and I am here because of my mother. I'm here in the position because of my wife and my kids. I have four kids, and three grandkids now, and it's emotional for me because I want kids to know that they can do it and they can accomplish everything. Especially kids in the Cleveland Municipal School District. I'm a product of the Cleveland Municipal School District. I graduated from John Hay, had a football scholarship and went to Tennessee State University. From there I transferred, went to the University of Toledo and got my degree from the University of Toledo, came to the police department, and then again, the rest is history here. I'm now interim chief of the Cleveland Division of police. Just trying to make a difference in my community, a community that I love.

Harris: And you're doing it in a city where your mother is and where your mother came. So this is more than just a job to you. It's personal.

Drummond: Absolutely, it's personal. I want to make sure that this city succeeds, that it thrives, that the police department succeeds, that it thrives and so forth, and that marriage is just a happy marriage. It's not always going to be that way. But we're gonna try our very best through partnerships and collaboration to do the right thing. And that's what I as a leader here, that's what I want to do, improve our relationship and make sure the officers have what they need to succeed. And if they're succeeding, that means they're providing the best quality service to our citizens here in this community.

Harris: Do you think we'll be able to drop that interim and just be just plain old chief? Can we drop the interim at some point? What do you think?

Drummond: I don't know. As you know, there's going to be a national search.

Harris: There's going to be a search.

Drummond: And then we'll see from there. I can't say. I can't say for certain.

Harris: OK. He will not confirm nor deny. We'll just have to stay tuned. Interim Chief Wayne Drummond, it has been an honor to have you here today.

Drummond: Thank you.