A Cleveland police car sits on a city street in Cleveland.
A Cleveland police car sits on a city street. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland

Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond quietly retired and was sworn in as chief again in January.

The chief retired Jan. 12 and took a new oath of office the following day. Mayor Justin Bibb’s press secretary confirmed the move in response to questions from Signal Cleveland on Tuesday. 

A 33-year police veteran, Drummond had been part of a deferred retirement program known as DROP. The program, offered by the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, allows longtime first responders to increase their pension benefits if they remain on the force.

Drummond reached the end of the eight-year DROP program and had to retire, according to press secretary Marie Zickefoose. According to a fact sheet on the DROP program, enrollees who don’t retire after eight years will lose the additional benefits they accrued. 

“Mayor Bibb chose to retain Chief Drummond,” she wrote in an email to Signal Cleveland. “Due to the separation from the Division and subsequent rehiring, a secondary oath of office was administered.”

Retiring and returning to the job typically enables a public employee to collect both pension benefits and a regular city salary. The city did not say whether Drummond would be receiving both sources of income. 

The practice, derided as “double dipping,” is not uncommon among public officials. The previous police chief, Calvin Williams, retired and was hired by Mayor Frank Jackson in 2018. The chiefs before Williams, Michael McGrath and Martin Flask, also retired and were rehired. 

Government Reporter (he/him)
Nick joins us from the world of public radio. He has more than a decade experience covering politics and government in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In 2021, he produced and hosted "After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor," an Ideastream Public Media podcast on the Cleveland mayoral race. He has also covered breaking news, opioid lawsuits and elections nationally for NPR.