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Cleveland Metroparks hires former Beachwood police chief as interim park chief

Kelly Stillman abruptly left Beachwood this month; his successor is former Metroparks Chief Katherine Dolan, who left park system in September for Beachwood.
Credit: Cleveland Metroparks
Cleveland Metroparks logo.

CLEVELAND — Kelly J. Stillman, who abruptly resigned as Beachwood’s police chief on Nov. 10 after less than 14 months on the job, has been named interim police chief of the Cleveland Metroparks. 

The park system has been without a chief since mid-September, when Police Chief Katherine Dolan resigned to take a job as Beachwood’s deputy chief. Dolan was appointed Beachwood’s police chief after Stillman’s departure.

Stillman was sworn in Thursday during the Metroparks board meeting. Dolan attended the meeting.

Stillman has not commented publicly about his sudden departure from Beachwood, and he did not respond to 3News' questions sent via text message.

“Kelly Stillman was named interim chief and brings four decades of law enforcement experience to Cleveland Metroparks Police Department and will remain in that role until a permanent chief is named,“ Metroparks officials said in a statement to 3News.

The Metroparks police department has about 100 employees. The Metroparks is paying a search firm to help find a new police chief, according to Metroparks board’s most recent agenda.

Before it hired Stillman, the Metroparks told 3News the police department’s day-to-day operations were being managed by two captains. Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman had also started carrying a “ceremonial badge,” though exactly when he began doing so is unclear. Zimmerman recently lost the badge and accompanying identification. The Metroparks said in a statement on Friday that all “his property” has been returned.

Crime in the Metroparks is low, but the park system faces ongoing questions about its investigation into the 2019 double murder of two parkgoers -- Katherine Brown and Carnell Sledge. The friends were murdered at the river's edge in the late afternoon on June 4 in the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, just north of the Lorain Road bridge.

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Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated story on Nov. 15, 2021.