Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath, a no-nonsense cop who ran the SWAT team, understands residents’ needs–one of the reasons he has stopped the revolving door at the police chief’s office, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The city has had 39 police chiefs since 1866, but the current top cop has served longer than all but nine of them. McGrath became police chief in March 2005. The mayor appoints the police chief, and many are ousted after political clashes.
McGrath, 58, spent eight years as commander of a rough-and-tumble area, nicknamed the “Fighting 4th,” on the city’s southeast side. Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Union, said McGrath listens to officer’s concerns. He said some police chiefs have lost their jobs because they are not willing to play politics or for standing up for officers. “The career of police chiefs are directly tied to how high they are willing to jump for the mayors who appoint them,” Loomis said. “It is unfortunately not based on their experience or expertise in law enforcement.” McGrath says he didn’t fear losing his job in 2007 when killings spiked to a 13-year high. The numbers dropped 25 percent last year. He said his job is on the line if crime spirals out of control or a scandal hurts the department. “I answer to the residents,” he said.