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Officer to Return to Force After Loss

Veteran Capitol Police Officer Bill Cleveland may have lost his bid Tuesday to become mayor of Alexandria, Va., but the Cannon House Office Building gets one of its most ebullient police officers back on the beat starting Monday.

“Why should I plan to retire from Capitol Hill?” asked the 54-year-old Cleveland, who had taken time off for his mayoral campaign. “I have a job to perform.”

Had he won, Cleveland earlier told Roll Call it would have meant the end of his days on the force.

Fellow City Councilman William Euille (D) bested the Republican Cleveland 52 percent to 41 percent in unofficial results. Townsend A. Van Fleet (I) received 7 percent. Democrats also swept the City Council’s six seats.

Cleveland’s showing was significant given the GOP hadn’t fielded a mayoral candidate in the Democratic stronghold since 1994. The city hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since Reconstruction.

“I’m not disappointed about the people’s plans,” said Cleveland. “I gave the people a clear choice about the future of the city of Alexandria, about an open and responsive government, about getting control of out-of-control growth, about safety and security … not only safety and security in the streets but also the safety and security of them in their homes and the high assessments that will come.”

Cleveland — who spent 15 years on the city council — said he plans to continue to serve the city in a “civilian capacity,” pointing to his work with the Untouchables, an anti-drug and alcohol peer group for young Alexandria men.

As for his political future, Cleveland hasn’t ruled anything out.

“The whole world is open to me,” he said, adding that at the moment his political plans were on hold.

Tuesday’s historic election pitted two black candidates — Cleveland and Euille — against each other for the first time in Alexandria, a former slave-trading port.

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