Both finalists have strong foundations in community policing. According to the website of the U.S. Department of Justice, community policing is: “a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues.”
Anthony Holloway – Chief of Police, Somerville, MA
Chief Anthony Holloway, a Tampa Bay area native, served 22 years in the Clearwater Police Department, where he worked in nearly every division, excepting only the Office of Professional Standards. He has about 19 years experience in community policing, and has worked as a narcotics detective. For the past two years, Holloway has been the Chief of Police in Somerville, Massachusetts, a town comparable in size to the City of Belleair. Crime rates in Somerville have been reduced under Holloway, and according to recent reports, crime is down by 16%, to its lowest rate since 2005.
“When I heard the chance to go back to where I started from I looked at it and thought this would be a good fit,” Holloway said, commenting on his desire to return to Clearwater. Holloway has roots in this area, and experience in this community.
Holloway has applied his experience in community policing to the City of Somerville, working with the community to learn what their core values are, and the specific problems they are facing, in order to determine what resources are needed for each area. He wants citizens to be able to "move toward the badge, not away from the badge," meaning that officers and citizens can work together, since both share the same goal – the eradication of crime.
John A. Jackson – Chief of Police, Alamosa, CO
“I am absolutely thrilled to be considered and honored to be one of two candidates to lead the department,” says Chief John Jackson. “Clearwater has a leading and very impressive police department,” he adds, noting Clearwater's institution of community policing 20 years ago, an innovation at the time. He humorously adds Florida's climate as a factor in his desire to move as well.
Jackson currently institutes community policing in Alamosa, and would continue in Clearwater. "The focus and emphasis is community based involvement," he explains, stressing an address to root causes before they become problems. "You have to nurture relationships," he says. Just putting people behind bars doesn't work that well; however, "That doesn't mean if someone does something horrific, you don't put them in jail," says Jackson.
Jackson has served as Police Chief for Overland Park, KS, a city larger than Clearwater, and in Alamosa, a tourist town smaller than Clearwater. He also teaches at Ft. Hayes State University, and says the students keep him fresh and ensure he does his research and stays current.
Jackson worked with judges in Alamosa to develop a graffiti abatement partnership in the form of restorative justice: those caught in the act are sentenced to clean up graffiti in the city. Since the program's implementation, graffiti in Alamosa has disappeared, and hasn't returned. "It's wonderful to watch the kids, they don't like it so much," Jackson says, "but then come back and say how it's helped them. It's worth it in the long run if a kid says, 'you've really helped me out.'"
City Manager Bill Horne will announce his decision in mid-January.