EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) –  While some citizens and elected East Cleveland officials would like to have another agency take over the embattled police department, the city’s top cop says he believes they can rebuild.

Chief Brian J. Gerhard released a statement Thursday, saying he will move the department in a positive direction.

“I have very good personnel on my staff that will assist me rebuilding the agency,” the chief stated in the release. “The recent indictments of the additional four officers will not prevent my agency from functioning or adequately protecting the citizens, the indictments were expected as this has been an on-going investigation. I have cooperated fully with the county prosecutor’s office and will continue to do so, the county investigator and his colleague from the FBI have the ability to logon the agency bodycam system and have been provided all records they have requested from to assist in their investigation into corrupt activity within the department.”

A total of 16 current and former East Cleveland officers now face charges of public corruption and civil rights violations, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley announced Wednesday.

East Cleveland Law Director Willa Hemmons told the I-Team that the incidents that led to the indictments happened when prior East Cleveland Chief Scott Gardner was in charge. Gardner is also facing several criminal charges.

There are 17 total victims across 31 incidents from June 2018 to July 2022, prosecutors said.