CLEVELAND — With just a few weeks before Cleveland voters elect the city’s next mayor, both candidates -- Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley -- sat down for a town hall moderated by 3News’ Russ Mitchell.
During the conversation, both were asked how they would grade the Cleveland Division of Police. Here were their responses:
Bibb: He gave the police department a D. "People don’t trust the police right now in our city – and I’m the son of a cop," he said when asked why he chose that grade. "It’s important that we look internally as a department to identify how do we change the culture of not just fairness between residents and police, but how do we change the culture internally to get more fairness?”
Kelley: “I would give the men and women of the Division of Police an A+," Kelley said. "I would give the division itself a C. The circumstances they’re working in are challenging. We have made tremendous progress since the consent decree."
When it came to leadership at the police department, Mitchell asked both candidates if they will keep current Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams in that position.
Bibb: "No. I’m getting a new chief."
Kelley: "Haven’t decided yet, but let me just tell you this. If Issue 24 passes, it’s going to be really hard to find anybody that wants to be chief." He added, "I believe it's time for change," when asked for more regarding his opinion regarding the role of police chief.
So what is Issue 24, which Kelley referenced? The issue, which is on the ballot next month, would establish a community policing commission. Kelley is against it. Bibb supports it.
You can watch the full mayoral town hall in the video below:
So will it be Bibb or Kelley taking over the position as longtime Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson leaves office? The general election will answer that question as voters hit the polls on Nov. 2.