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Baldwin Wallace criminal justice grad named Cuyahoga County Sheriff

Harold Pretel ’03 was appointed by the county executive, confirmed by the county council and sworn into office earlier this month.



Cuyahoga County’s new top law enforcement officer is a Baldwin Wallace University grad. Harold Pretel ’03, who has served as the Cleveland Division of Police deputy chief of homeland special operations since 2017, was confirmed by the county council on July 18.

When County Executive Chris Ronayne announced the nomination in May, he praised Pretel as “an exceptional leader with a proven track record of collaboration and success in law enforcement.”

He went on to say, “Deputy Chief Pretel’s experience in corrections, with the Sheriff’s department and at the Cleveland Division of Police, has prepared him to take on this role, and I know he has the vision and dedication we need to lead the Sheriff’s department.”

Adding education as he served

Pretel, who served as a United States Marine Corps military police officer for four years, has forged a three-decade law enforcement career in Northeast Ohio, first with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and then with the Cleveland Division of Police.

Along the way, Pretel earned an associate’s degree from Cuyahoga Community College and completed his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at BW. He went on to add a master’s degree in social administration from Case Western Reserve University and to graduate from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Leadership Academy.

Justice, integrity and service

According to news coverage on, Pretel told the council that he aims to build a “premiere law enforcement agency ... founded on procedural justice, integrity and service.”

“The citizens of this county know that they expect and deserve superior law enforcement service and certainly superior professional service, and that’s something we’re going to give them: respectful, professional policing,” he said.

Latino first

Pretel, who immigrated with his family to the U.S. from Columbia as a child, is the first Latino to hold the top post in the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office.

The significance was not lost on Pretel, who noted, "I know there are a lot of little girls and boys who see a way forward, and I want to tell you that was me.”

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