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Cleveland Police Union Endorses Ken Lanci for Mayor, Bob Reid for County Executive

Former county sheriff Bob Reid speaks from the lectern at the police union hall. (Nick Castele / ideastream)
Former county sheriff Bob Reid speaks from the lectern at the police union hall. (Nick Castele / ideastream)

Former Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid will face off against State Sen. Shirley Smith and State Rep. Armond Budish next year. Budish has been endorsed by current County Executive Ed FitzGerald, and Smith has been supported by a retinue of local elected officials.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association joins a list of suburban mayors in backing Reid. Union president Jeffrey Follmer says members endorsed him for his management and law enforcement experience – a theme Reid repeated when explaining his credentials.

“Ten years as a city manager in the city of Bedford," Reid said. "Four years as a county sheriff, the largest division in the county, a $92 million operation, 1100 employees. So I’ve got the background for it.”

Meanwhile, Follmer says union members endorsed Cleveland mayoral candidate Ken Lanci against incumbent Frank Jackson, with only a handful of people dissenting. But Follmer declined to elaborate on the endorsement, saying he wanted to meet with Lanci’s campaign first.

Reached by phone last Friday, Lanci reiterated a campaign promise to bring police and residents closer together.

“What needs to be done is what I’ve done my whole life, and that is getting involved, working with rank and file, developing a leader that people in the community as well as in the police department…that they respect," Lanci said.

After a car chase last year ended with officers fatally shooting two unarmed people, the city and police leadership sought to discipline officers and supervisors involved. The union called for Police Chief Michael McGrath to resign, saying he’s let morale on the force drop to “an all-time low.”

Lanci has said that he would have fired McGrath and the director of public safety.

Reached last week, Jackson's campaign spokesman declined to comment on the record.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.