Chief Pinkney first African-American to serve as Chief

JAMES W. WADE III | 7/18/2013, 10:35 a.m.
This position makes Pinkney 2nd in Command to Sheriff Bova and the county’s first African-American chief.

In recent years, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department has received a lot of bad press but Warrensville Heights Police Chief Frank Bova is leading the department in the correct direction. And recently, he’s accomplished one great task: promoting Clifford Pinkney to serve as chief of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department.

This position makes Pinkney 2nd in Command to Sheriff Bova and the county’s first African-American chief.

Pinkney has 23 years of service with the Sheriff’s department, starting as a deputy sheriff in 1991 then working his way up through the ranks. Being the first to have to go through the actual interview process for the position, Bova believe he picked the right candidate.

In 1993, Pinkney was promoted to detective, to the Narcotics Bureau in 1998, and then served on the FBI Task Force dealing with gangs, drugs and wiretaps. He was also promoted to sergeant in 2005 and the Sex Offender Unit in 2007. Pinkney was assigned to the U.S. Marshal Violent Fugitive Task Force in 2009 and attended the U.S. Marshal Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia.

In 2012, he graduated from the F.B.I. National Academy at Quantico, Virginia. During his career, he has participated in multiple high-profile cases, winning awards for service and actions at every level.

“Chief Cliff Pinkney will help lead the Sheriff’s Department in continuing its mission of assisting our local law enforcement partners. His extensive experience, integrity and record make him a valuable member of our team and I am looking forward to working with him as we move forward,” said Bova.

While interviewing Pinkney, it became apparent that he has a great relationship with Bova. Pinkney shared a lot of plans to help make the department better and this new dynamic duo are on a quest to turn the department around in a positive way.

“We are proud to promote Cliff Pinkney to Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department Chief,” said County Executive Ed FitzGerald. “His long service has been filled with dedication and accomplishment and we look forward to even more success for the Sheriff’s Department under the leadership of Sheriff Bova and Chief Pinkney.”

With the mindset to make the department better, Pinkney knows how to build a great house. You need a strong foundation upon which to assemble all the other pretty things. But while interviewing him, you realize that to build a great man, you also need a solid foundation upon which to add all the other little things that set the real men apart others.

Pinkney expressed great love for his family where he is the second oldest of five and enjoys spending time with them and having fun. Graduating from Cleveland Heights High School and proudly displaying all of his college pictures, he attended THE Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

“I just want to treat my fellow workers fair,” said Pinkney. He is the latest in a long-line of Black pioneers who holds the title of being the first in their area. “I’m speechless, and humbled, that Sherriff Bova has faith in my ability to lead,” said Pinkney.

“The goal was showing that Blacks can be effective leaders. I didn’t see color or skin tones. Cliff is going to be a good boost for the Sherriff’s Department,” said Bova. These two men spend a lot of time walking around making sure things are running right.

If you are ever down in the Justice Center don’t be surprised when you look up and see the sheriff walking alongside a brother with a great big smile.

Don’t be alarmed. It’s just Cuyahoga County’s new Chief Clifford Pinkney.