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Sid Klein, Former Clearwater Police Chief, Dies

Sid Klein | Clearwater Police Chief | Deaths

His 47-year law enforcement career was spent with just three different agencies, 29 of those years were spent in Clearwater.

NORTH FLORIDA – Former Clearwater Police Chief Sid Klein, who led the agency for nearly 30 years, has died.

Chief Klein led the agency for nearly 30 years – from 1981 to 2010. He died Wednesday (March 18, 2020) in North Florida after a battle with cancer. He was 78 years old.

Under his leadership, the Clearwater Police Department developed a national reputation as a progressive law enforcement agency known for its community partnerships and police innovations.

“As a new officer, I distinctly remember a senior officer saying Chief Klein brought the Clearwater Police Department out of the dark ages by providing new technologies and solid direction,” current Chief Dan Slaughter said. “Chief Klein was well known for developing leaders who went on to run many police departments across the country, two of whom run two of the largest agencies in Pinellas County.”

When Chief Klein arrived at CPD in 1981, there were no computers. He brought computers into the buildings and into the cars of police officers. He created police substations so that officers would be in the community and not just located at the main police station. He stressed the importance of community policing, of being proactive instead of just reactive.

Many people have taken to social media to say how much Chief Klein meant to them – whether they worked under him as a civilian or a police officer.

“What a truly wonderful man and leader,” wrote one. “It was my great honor to work for him. My heart is broken.”

“Chief Klein was one of a kind and a man I respected a great deal,” wrote another. “Thank you for all that you did.”

He was born in New York City but moved with his family to Miami as a youngster. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17, and after completing his service there, he began his law enforcement career with the Miami Dade Sheriff’s Office. He later worked for the police department in Lakewood, CO,  from 1970 to 1980, his last stop before Clearwater.

His 47-year law enforcement career was spent with just three different agencies, 29 of those in Clearwater.

There will be a small, private family celebration of his life.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CLEARWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT.

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