The Cleveland Division of Police is the law enforcement agency responsible for the city of Cleveland, Ohio. Since 2005, Michael McGrath has been the chief of police.


Administrative Operations

  • Provides services that enable the other programs to effectively respond to service calls. It provides security services; warrant, subpoena and property processing; radio and telephone communications; inspection of police services; and management of information and human resources. Additional functions include the reporting and recording of crimes and incidents and personnel development.

Field Operations

  • Bureau of Traffic
    • As part of Field Operations, the Bureau of Traffic provides traffic and crowd control at major events, investigates serious traffic accidents and ensures the safety of school children walking to and from school.
  • Downtown Services Unit (D.S.U)
    • In May 2008 the D.S.U. was created to offset the closing of the old Third District while still providing a police presence in the downtown area. In addition to regular patrol the D.S.U. is involved in policing special events, the Warehouse District, as well as numerous undercover enforcement operations.
  • D.A.R.E. programs
  • Community Relations
  • Auxiliary Police
  • Patrol
  • District Support
    • District support sections assist uniformed patrols through the investigation of major offenses, concentrated action on specific complaints, and crime pattern analysis.

Special Operations

  • S.W.A.T
  • Investigations Division
    • Detective Bureaus
      • Arson
      • Auto Theft
      • Fraud
      • Narcotics
      • Robbery/Homicide
      • Sex Crimes/Special Victims
      • Youth Domestic Violence
  • Technical Support Division
    • Photography Lab Services
    • Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation/Analysis


Pre-World War II

From the early 1900s to the start of World War II, the department concentrated on managing the city's rapid growth. Cleveland was rapidly growing, even through the Great Depression, with the population increasing from 380,000 in 1900, to more than 830,000 by the 1920s.[1] The police department grew with the city, growing from less than 400 officers in 1900, to more than 1,300 by 1920. When legendary Prohibition-era crimefighter Elliot Ness became chief in 1935, he abolished the existing system of precincts and reorganized the city into police districts, with each commanded by a captain. Ness's system is still in use today. In the 1930s, the police department experimented with new technologies and procedures, gaining a reputation as one of the most progressive and efficient departments in the nation.

Post-World War II

While the population of the city remained stable through the 1940s and 1950s, the police department continued to grow, with more than 2,000 officers by 1960. However, the 1960s saw relations between the department and the city's growing Black community begin to deteriorate. In 1966, even though Cleveland was over 1/3 Black, only 165 of Cleveland's 2,200 police officers were Black, adding to the distrust between the Black community and the Police Department[2] especially in events leading up to the Hough Riots and Glenville Shootout.

By the 1970s, the department, like the rest of the city government, was suffering from Cleveland's failing economy. Aging equipment could not be replaced, and the department saw its numbers drop by more than 700 by the end of the decade. This, along with steadily rising crime rates left the police department with a reputation as a disorganized and demoralized force that would take decades to lose. Further aggravating the situation, The City of Cleveland was found guilty of discriminating against minorities in hiring, promoting, and recruiting government officials, specifically police officers, by a federal court in 1977. As a result of this judgement, the department was forced to place an emphasis on rebuilding community relations and recruiting minorities. By 1992, the number of police officers increased by more than 300 officers to 1,700, of whom 26% were black. During the administration of Michael White the department began to focus on community policing and rebuilding the damaged relationship between the department and the community. During the White administration, the role of Police Chief was a revolving door of chiefs.

Under the Jane Campbell administration of 2002-06, the Cleveland Police Department laid off more than 200 officers, several units including the Police Aviation Unit were grounded, Ports and Harbor were disbanded, and even the CPD Mounted (Horse) unit were disbanded. The department was again seen as a demoralized force during the Campbell administration.


Under current mayor Frank Jackson, the Cleveland Police saw a rise in morale due to changes effected by Jackson and there has been a class of new police officers graduated. Mayor Jackson has restored the Cleveland Police Aviation Unit and there are plans to expand it duties to help patrol over all of Cleveland and its suburbs. Mayor Jackson has revamped the Police Districts from 6 to 5 and has ordered police to be aggressive in the fight against crime. The CPD mounted unit has been restored and those mounted officers patrol the downtown Cleveland area. The ports and harbor units will also be restored. Mayor Jackson has had one Chief of Police during his administration, as opposed to other administrations. The Cleveland Police are also investigating the possibility of remodeling certain aspects of the department after the NYPD, including initializing a Compstat system.

Cleveland Police also help their suburban Cleveland counterparts in solving crimes. Cleveland Police have technology that can look at surveillance tapes from bank robberies, this technology is a joint venture between the Cleveland Police and NASA Glenn-Lewis Research Center. Many bank robberies in Cleveland and its suburbs have been cracked with this technology. Cleveland Police have recently formed a financial crimes unit.

Fallen Officers

Since 1853, The Cleveland Division of Police has lost 106 officers in the line of duty.[3]

Contact Information

1300 Ontario St.
OH 44114
Phone: (216) 623-5000

See also


External links

  • [The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History]
  • "Hough Riots"., Ohio History Central
  • The Officer Down Memorial Page
  • Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.