More than 150 Cuyahoga County security officers could be merged with the Sheriff’s Office by April 1.
The 157 employees of the Protective Services division now work in the county’s Central Services department. The employees and their $9 million budget would be absorbed by the sheriff.
The armed officers provide security at all county buildings except the Justice Center and courthouses. Sheriff Bob Reid and Jay Ross, who heads Central Services, are working with the county’s Human Resources Department and the unions to finalize plans.
Merger discussions began after Interim Sheriff Frank Bova replaced Gerald McFaul as sheriff in April.
Reid and Ross said they do not believe jobs will be lost. Each said it makes sense for the sheriff to oversee security at county properties.
Ross said the merger would probably have occurred in 2011 anyway when county government is restructured. He said it was efficient to do it now.
Central Services duties includes maintaining county buildings and vehicles and the mailing and printing services for county agencies. The security officers are often referred to as “brown shirts” because of their uniforms. They do not have arrest powers but can detain people.
The security officers fit better under the sheriff, Reid said.
“It brings more of a law enforcement legitimacy to the branch. They do a good job. This makes a lot of sense for both organizations,” the sheriff said.
Reid said security officers potentially could replace deputies who work the information desk at the Justice Center. Those deputies could then be assigned to other sheriff’s units.
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