Mayor Justin Bibb Bibb swears in new officers at at police academy graduation in December 2022. For years, the city has been trying to diversify its police recruits. Credit: TV20 Cleveland

The 151st Cleveland Police Academy class graduated Wednesday morning. Mayor Justin Bibb led the 17 new officers through their oath. 

They joined a force of just over 1,300, more than 300 short of the 1,640 officers the city budgeted for. 

The Cleveland Division of Police has not been filling positions at the same pace as officers have been leaving.  

Numbers released to Signal Cleveland show 188 officers left the department from January through the end of October. 

Mayor Justin Bibb recently told Signal Cleveland he wants to hire a consultant to evaluate how many officers the city needs. 

The city’s Department of Public Safety put out a request for proposal for consultant services “for the modernization” of the city’s emergency medical services and fire department, and for “an analysis of the size of the city’s Division of Police needed to effectively serve the city.” Those proposals were due Nov. 9. 

The officers joining the department this week spent more than seven months in training, which included an active-shooter drill, driving classes, writing assignments and physical training.

The next class is set to start in late December, said Jennifer Ciaccia, spokesperson for the police department.  

Police Chief Wayne Drummond and other city leaders congratulated the graduates and thanked their families for supporting them as they start their new careers.  

“For the families, friends and extended family, thank you. You’re appreciated,”  Drummond said. “But it’s not over. It’s been almost eight months. They have a long career [ahead], and they can have a very successful career, but they need you to support them.” 

Criminal Justice Reporter (she/her)
Stephanie, who covered criminal justice and breaking news at the Chicago Tribune, is a bilingual journalist with a passion for storytelling that is inclusive and reflects the diversity of the communities she covers. She has been a reporter and copy editor for local newspapers in South Dakota, Kansas and Arizona. Stephanie is also a Maynard 200 alumni, a Maynard Institute for Journalism Education training program for journalists of color that focuses on making newsrooms more equitable, diverse and anti-racist.