I-TEAM: Cleveland police chief retires, gets rehired

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CLEVELAND -- Friday afternoon, the FOX 8 I-TEAM broke the story of Cleveland’s police chief retiring and getting rehired, a practice critics call double-dipping. So we’re investigating what it means for your wallet and safety on your streets.

Cleveland City Hall confirmed Chief Calvin Williams retired on Wednesday, and the mayor hired him back on Thursday.

This allows the chief to now collect a pension and his salary of $130,575. The practice is legal, but it always sparks debate.

A city spokesman said Chief Williams had been in a benefits program that forced him to retire, and the mayor didn’t want to lose him.

Dan Williams said, "He's very important to the City of Cleveland." Williams added, "All the things that he has done during very difficult times for the city. Chief Williams has stood tall."

Williams has faced hard questions about the city’s violent crime rate, but he’s won praise for calming streets after police shootings and for leading law enforcement during the Republican National Convention here. For that, the President even called to congratulate Chief Williams for a job well done.

Meantime, the Mayor`s Office has taken heat over the years, getting accused of allowing too much so-called double dipping with top managers.

In fact, the safety director and some top assistants have made headlines working for the city, retiring, and getting rehired, still earning big money.

The head of the police supervisor’s union doesn’t like the practice.

FOP President Brian Betley said, “As a whole, we don’t support it. It stops many of our members from advancement to better positions.”

Some taxpayers we met also don’t like the process. It is widespread throughout many levels of government, not just in Cleveland, and it always leads to talk about whether laws allowing it should be changed.

We reached out to the chief for comment. However, the city only put out a news release confirming the retiring and rehiring, and, outlining the chief’s accomplishments with the Cleveland Police.

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