‘We have all the tools’: Mayor Bibb lays out priorities for Cleveland

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – “No one calls me Justin anymore.”

He may be just days into the job as mayor of Cleveland, but Justin Bibb’s life has been forever changed.

The 34-year-old was sworn-in as the city’s 58th mayor on Jan. 3.

He talked to FOX 8 Tuesday about his priorities, which include finding Cleveland’s next police chief and fighting COVID-19.

“We could be living with this for a long time,” Mayor Bibb said about coronavirus.

“You are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized and 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 if you are not vaccinated,” he said, echoing White House messaging on coronavirus.

His COVID task force will officially be on the job Wednesday, Jan. 12.

He says they’ll be reviewing everything “to make sure they have the right priorities internally and externally to keep people safe.”

Bibb noted that Cleveland has a 45% vaccination rate, a number that will be crucial to improve COVID safety in Cleveland.

“We have all the tools we need to stop the spread of COVID,” Bibb said.

Part of his time in office so far has included a listening tour in various facets of the city, including meeting with first responders and with West Side Market vendors.

He’s also going to be choosing the next chief of police.

He says a search firm will be conducting a local and national search to find the city’s next top cop in the weeks ahead.

Bibb outlined his hopes for that position, someone who shares his values of fairness, both inside and outside the department, and someone who prioritizes equity.

“A department my father could be proud of,” he said.

Bibb’s father, Donald Bibb, served as one of the first African American first responders in Cleveland Heights and also worked as a firefighter and special police officer.

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