Thursday, March 27, 2014

UPDATE - Commander Keith Sulzer & Second District Community Relations Committee

This is to update those interested in the news regarding Commander Keith Sulzer's resignation and demotion to the rank of Captain, and his assignment to the Cleveland Division of Police's Bureau of Community Policing.

The initial announcement of these changes began on Monday morning, in the form of media reports; phone calls from City of Cleveland Safety Director Michael McGrath and police Chief Calvin D. Williams to the local City Council representatives; and, finally on Tuesday, an official announcement from Chief Williams.

The official announcement from the chief made a very simple statement that " Captain Sulzer chose to step down from his position of Commander of the Second District."

What is not clear and will likely never be made public is why this change has occurred.  What I know from my communications with Chief Williams and Commander Sulzer, is that the Commander, although turning in his resignation, did not want to leave his post.  I do not believe his resignation or removal is in any way related to the November 29th police chase. And, no one can believe the resignation has anything to do with the Commander's performance - it is known that there was a performance review conducted early this year, and the Commander received what would be considered an overall exemplary review.

Those who have worked with the Commander throughout his career and for the seven years he served as Commander of the Second District know how dedicated and committed to the job he has been.  We know the positive impact he has made in the community by building trust, improving community relations and doing so in a hands-on way and by leading by example.  For these reasons I must conclude that his resignation was given at the request of his superiors and what is most disturbing is that he was then demoted to the rank of Captain.

Commander Keith Sulzer

The outpouring of support for Commander Sulzer has been overwhelming.  Below are letters and a resolution from Tremont West Development Corporation in support of the Commander.  I thank my colleagues on Council, Council members Cimperman and Brancatelli who shared with me in calling on Monday, for the Mayor, Safety Director and Chief to not accept Sulzer's resignation.  Thanks also to Council President Kelley and Councilman Zone for their words of support at the rally on Tuesday.

Courtesy of NewsNet 5 Cleveland

Please call and lobby on Keith Sulzer's behalf, the following people and numbers:
  • Police Chief Calvin Williams 216-623-5005
  • Safety Director Michael McGrath 216-664-3716; and,
  • Mayor Frank Jackson 216-664-3990

For those wanting to participate in a show of support for Commander Sulzer there are three events scheduled that would provide that opportunity -
  • Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser this Sunday at St. Rocco's from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm; 

    Monday, March 31 at 6:35pm, Cleveland City Hall Rotunda and 7:00 pm City Council meeting, Cleveland city Hall, 601 Lakeside Avenue N.E., Cleveland Ohio 44114

  • The Second District Community Relations Committee monthly meeting,
    7:00 pm on Tuesday, April 8th, at the Applewood Center all-purpose room
    located on Daisy Avenue off of W. 25th Street.

    Note that Chief Williams and the new Second District Commander Tom Stacho will be addressing the public and be available for questions at this meeting.

I hope to see you at one if not all three of these events.  If you're on Facebook, please be sure to join the Second District Community Relations Committee page.

Apart from the three events mentioned above, Council President Kevin Kelley is scheduling a meeting with Chief Williams and Commander Stacho along with the other four Council members whose Wards are within the Second District - Cimperman, Zone, Brancatelli and myself.  I've also had an opportunity to speak with Commander Stacho today, as he called in the morning to introduce himself.  We'll be discussing the issue of the resignation and reassignment of Sulzer as well as our concerns for the Second District moving forward.

L-R; newly appointed Second District Commander Thomas Stacho; Police Chief Calvin Williams;
and, Safety Director Michael McGrath.

I realize that most members of the community that have fought to keep Commander Sulzer in his position are not ready or willing to give up on that hope.  I encourage you to attend the Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, where you'll be able to meet others, including those who have worked most closely with Commander Sulzer on the Second District Community Relations Committee.

Regardless of the outcome of these events, it is my hope that our community can continue to move forward in strengthening the public's relations with the police and improving the safety and quality of life for all law abiding citizens.  I personally feel that how this situation has been handled has damaged the public trust.  Please join me in speaking out about the clear injustice of Commander Sulzer's removal and the need for the Chief, Safety Director and Mayor to work with our community in ensuring the highest level of safety possible for our citizens.


Please sign the petition of support for Keith Sulzer, add your comment and be sure to read the thoughtful comments of one of the almost 1,500 people that have signed on.  Also, if you belong to a church or business or organization and want your letter of support posted, please email me a copy at

Resolutions and Letters of Support

"They can take away his command, but they can never take away his integrity. I have known every commander in the Second District for the last forty years. Keith is at the top of the list. He was respected by his officers and the public His replacement is an excellent officer but it takes years to earn the trust from the community groups, street people, council members he dealt with every day. From the day he came on the job he has been one of the best assets the department possessed."

-  Greg Baeppler

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