By Jeff Gallatin
Longtime Bay Village police Chief Dave Wright has the right stuff when it comes to being a police officer, other officials said.
Wright, who has been chief since 1996 and a member of the city police for more than 32 years, turned in his retirement letter Thursday to Bay Village Mayor Debbie Sutherland, effective June 23. He is retiring so he can take a job as police commander for the Cleveland Clinic’s security. He was scheduled to retire in 2014 in the Ohio DROP program, which requires a final retirement time.
“I’ve got bittersweet, mixed feelings on this,” Sutherland said Friday. “I’m happy for Dave because it’s such an outstanding opportunity for him, but I and the city will be losing him. He’s been an outstanding chief and police officer for this community.”
She said with the Cleveland Clinic’s international flavor both in Cleveland and in its connections throughout the world, Wright will be stepping into a job for which he is uniquely qualified.
“Dave has a made a lot of connections through the years,” Sutherland said. “When he was president of the Ohio Chiefs of Police Association and his work with that and other organizations, he had the opportunity to travel to Turkey and many other countries throughout the world. He also has brought many officers here on exchange programs. He has kept all those connections and contacts and they will serve him and the Clinic well in his new job for them.”
She cited Wright’s many leadership positions for both the Cuyahoga County Police Chiefs Association and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.
“He is highly respected by his peers, which says a lot about him,” she said.
Sutherland said Wright’s contributions to the Bay department were also outstanding.
“He put in place leadership and training programs which always served our city and the department well,” she said. “He consistently brought excellent officers into the department, which also served us well.”
Wright was attending to a family matter and was not available for comment. In his retirement letter, Wright thanked citizens and city administrations.
“It has been a privilege and honor to serve the citizens of Bay Village for over 32 years,” he said in the letter. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Bay Village for their support along with the present and past city administrations, all the members of the various city departments whom I have worked closely with, and most importantly the men and women of the Bay Village Police Department, active and retired. As I look to the future, it will always be a source of pride watching the Bay Village Police Department continue the pursuit of excellence.”
Bay Village law Director Gary Ebert lauded his longtime colleague in city administrations.
‘Dave was excellent to work with,” Ebert said. “He knew his job and the city well. I will miss him, but this is something he simply couldn’t pass up professionally.”
Independence police Chief Mike Kilbane, who spent nearly 20 years in the Westshore as a North Olmsted police officer, also praised Wright.
“He is a true professional who knows our profession well,” Kilbane said. “He brought a lot to our area, both with his actions and also by bringing in other police professionals from outside the area, giving us the chance to learn from them.”
Sutherland said she still has to decide how to replace Wright on an interim basis. She said his permanent successor will come from within the department and said she will review how to formally go about it.