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Cuyahoga County Sheriff Pauses Some Off-Duty Security Work After Shooting

In the aftermath of the Saturday killing of off-duty Cuyahoga County Corrections Officer Timoteo Cruz, the sheriff’s department is pausing some off-duty work for officers.

Sheriff Christopher Viland acknowledged in a statement released Tuesday the popularity of off-duty security jobs among officers.

“Suspending secondary employment involving the sale, possession, and/or use of alcohol is a measured, temporary respite so that I can review the current policy and consider officer safety and reasonable expectations,” Viland wrote.

Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association attorney Adam Chaloupka said the decision to suspend permission for off-duty security work came as a shock.

“This is something that in all of our contracts they’ve been permitted to do,” Chaloupka said. “Obviously at the discretion of the sheriff. But it definitely becomes a substantial part of their income.”

According to Viland, this type of work can resume after a review of policies is completed.

Cruz was providing security early Saturday morning at Rookies Sports Bar and Grill in Parma when he was killed.

According to the Parma Police Department, two Cleveland men – Juan Carlos Perez, 27, and his brother, Luis Carlos Candelario, 30 – were told to leave the bar and then killed Parma resident Sean Michael Acierno in the parking lot after a brief encounter. Cruz exchanged gunfire with one of the suspects and was killed.

“Due to Cruz’s heroic actions, he most likely saved additional lives, while giving up his own life as other bar patrons were still in the area or exiting the bar,” Parma Police Lt. Daniel Ciryak said in a statement.

Candelario and Perez were arrested Monday and charged with aggravated murder and complicity to aggravated murder.

According to Chaloupka, the current order from the sheriff potentially excludes officers from a wide range of potential employment – from security at bars and restaurants or liquor stores to off-duty employment at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to bartending or working at outdoor festivals.

“There really hasn’t been any clarification to us yet as to how long or what the actual concern or what the review is regarding,” Chaloupka said.

Every police department in Ohio can establish its own rules for secondary employment. In Cleveland, officers doing security work are required to wear their police uniform and the policy handbook restricts officers from working at establishments “where the primary business is the sale of alcohol.”

County officials haven’t indicated how long the policy review will last.

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