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Cuyahoga County Appoints New Acting Sheriff

Cuyahoga County Jail. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
Cuyahoga County Jail.

Less than a week after Cuyahoga County appointed a temporary replacement for retiring Sheriff Clifford Pinkney, it has appointed a new acting sheriff.

Sgt. David G. Schilling, Jr. will take over as acting Cuyahoga County Sheriff, the county executive's office announced late Monday.

Pinkney retired Aug. 2 and though the county originally named Lt. Bryan Smith as the interim replacement for Pinkney, Smith could not serve as acting sheriff because state law requires the sheriff to live in the county in which they serve for at least one year before the appointment. Smith lives in Lorain County.

Since it was an interim appointment, the Law Department initially said the residency requirement did not apply, but County Executive Armond Budish’s office ultimately changed course.

"After further reflection and discussion, and out of an abundance of caution, we chose to appoint Lt. Bryan Smith as the Interim Chief Deputy Sheriff and Sgt. David Schilling as the Interim Sheriff," said Budish’s Chief of Staff Bill Mason in an Aug. 5 press release.

Schilling has 15 years of supervisory experience serving as deputy sheriff and 20 years of experience conducting comprehensive investigations, according to the county. Before the new appointment, his roles include Supervisor of the Use of Deadly Force Investigations Team and the Officer in Charge for Internal Affairs-Inspectional Services. 

Smith will serve as interim chief deputy, a position that does not have a residency requirement.

The switch is the most recent controversy as Pinkney retires from the embattled office. Budish last week agreed to add a judge to the committee that will screen candidates for Pinkney's replacement, after the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Administrative and Presiding Judge John Russo publicly called on the executive to add a sitting jurist to the group. Pinkney himself was subponened by the County Council in his last days on the job to give answers to lawmakers' questions on the troubled county jail.