While police departments in New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans released statements criticizing President Donald Trump's recent comments about roughing up suspects, most police chiefs in northeast Ohio have said nothing.
In a recent speech to law enforcement officers in New York, the President said police shouldn't be "too nice" with suspects as they're putting them in the rear of their squad cars.
The city of Cleveland is operating under a federal consent decree aimed at reforming the troubled police department. Federal investigators found the department engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force. What did Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams think of Trump's remarks? We don't know. Channel 3 news reached out to Williams for comment, but his office ignored our request.
Channel 3 contacted 14 local police agencies seeking reaction to the President's apparent endorsement of rougher treatment of suspected criminals. Only three of the 14 departments responded.
"Parma police officers are mandated to protect the rights, liberties, and freedoms as guaranteed by the constitution of the United States for all people with whom we come into contact with," said Capt. Kevin Riley. "Our officers recognize the value of society's unique cultural diversity and treat all people with kindness, tolerance, dignity, and respect."
Akron Police Chief James Nice spoke up immediately when contacted.
"I don't agree with the President," he said. "I've always believed in dealing with people as professionally as you can. I've never been a fan of mouthing off or doing any rough stuff."
In Westlake, Capt. Guy Turner didn't hesitate to respond on behalf of the city's police department.
"The wisest police officer I have ever known told me we need cops who know when to throw bad guys on the hood of the cruiser and when to hold an old lady's hand. That's good policing boiled down to a single sentence," Turner said.
But we received no reaction from 11 of the 14 agencies that we contacted.
Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney said through a spokesman that he would prefer not to comment.
The following police officials failed to respond at all:
- Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams
- Euclid Police Chief Scott Meyer
- Cleveland Heights Police Chief Annette Mecklenberg
- Shaker Heights Police Chief Jeffrey DeMuth
- Independence Police Chief Michael Kilbane
- Brecksville Police Chief William Goodrich
- Lakewood Police Chief Tim Malley
- Summit County Sheriff's Inspector Bill Holland
- North Royalton Police Chief Kenneth Bilinovich
- Strongsville Police Chief Mark Fender
The White House responded to widespread criticism of Trump's controversial remarks by insisting he was only joking.