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Clearwater makes its mark with police chiefs

By A TIMES EDITORIAL
Published September 25, 2007


Last week's announcement that Capt. Tony Holloway will become the 12th Clearwater police officer in the past 25 years hired as a chief of police is noteworthy for two reasons.

One is that an outstanding officer will get to serve a community in its top law enforcement position after paying his dues for 22 years in the Clearwater Police Department.

Police work was almost an accidental choice for Holloway, who in the 1980s had completed the training to become a firefighter when he heard that the Clearwater Police Department was recruiting minorities. He switched gears and has been with the department ever since.

Holloway rose through the ranks, doing a lot of different jobs in the department, but focusing his efforts and his heart on the North Greenwood section of the city.

Holloway made friends there, and young people looked up to him. People who were troubled came to him for help or advice. The trust the community felt for him allowed him to play a vital role when tensions in the neighborhood ran high.

Holloway, 45, has received numerous commendations for his work.

North Greenwood will perhaps feel the loss the most when Holloway leaves later this year to become police chief of Somerville, Mass., an ethnically diverse, working class community of more than 77,000 north of Boston. The city officials there were looking for a police chief who could connect with people - one of Holloway's gifts. Holloway will be the city's first black police chief.

The second reason the announcement about Holloway was noteworthy is because he becomes the 12th Clearwater officer hired as a police chief in the last 25 years - a phenomenal number for a department the size of Clearwater's.

What does the Clearwater Police Department have that allows it to achieve such a distinction? The answer: exceptional, stable leadership at the top in police Chief Sid Klein.

Klein, who has been with the department more than 25 years, hires well, then insists that his employees adhere to high standards. He has seen to it that his officers receive the training and resources they need. He recognizes and rewards talent. He challenges his officers in ways that allow them to grow.

Holloway is an example. Klein recognized Holloway's potential while he was still a patrolman on the beat. He pushed him to go to college, promoted him to supervisory positions and gave him the opportunity to take on administrative tasks in the Police Department so he could broaden his skill set.

It is in no small way because of Klein that Holloway is prepared to lead a city police agency.

Clearwater has been fortunate to have both Holloway and Klein in leadership positions in its Police Department for so many years.