Beachwood Police Chief Gary Haba is retiring, according to Lynn Johnson, communications coordinator for the city of Beachwood.
Johnson said Haba’s last day will be in mid-July.
Haba was appointed chief Feb. 6, 2017, by then-Mayor Merle S. Gorden, with a 7-0 confirmation by Beachwood City Council.
At the time, he had served the Beachwood Police Department for more than 20 years. He previously served in the U.S. Army and worked for the SWAT team and as an honor guard, police academy instructor and firearms instructor.
Mayor Martin S. Horwitz released a statement about Haba on June 22.
“It is with great sadness that I accept the retirement of Gary Haba as Beachwood’s chief of police,” Horwitz stated. “Chief Haba has served as a distinguished officer and leader for more than 25 years. In the 2½ years I have served as mayor, he has been my mentor into police procedures, tactics and operations.”
He said Haba has been involved in the EDGE (SWAT) unit, honor guard and field training programs as both a training official and supervisor. Haba is a 2010 graduate of the Police Executive Leadership College and a 2014 graduate of the FBI National Academy, the mayor stated.
“It has been a pleasure working with Chief Haba during my time as a city council member and most recently as city council president,” James Pasch, president of Beachwood City Council, told the CJN.
Both the mayor and Pasch spoke of Haba’s security work on behalf of Jewish institutions, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and its security provider, JFC Security LLC.
Haba traveled twice to Israel, in 2015 and 2019, with JFC Security Federation officers for training.
“He’s always been an integral part of the security planning,” Pasch said.
“Chief Gary Haba’s unparalleled uniqueness is his ability to approach every situation with an appropriate level of compassion, empathy, and communication,” the mayor stated.
Under Haba, the department made 12-hour shifts a reality after 20 years of discussion, Horwitz said, and created the SPEAR unit for policing in higher-traffic areas. In addition, he established two K-9 units Horwitz said.
The mayor praised the chief’s leadership skills.
“He would meet with residents on streets with traffic issues and treat their problem as if it was the most important project he was working on,” the mayor stated. “During media interviews and through police press releases, Chief Haba always chose his words accurately and spoke with complete honesty. I was always proud that he was the face of and voice of Beachwood in any police matter.
“His most recent involvement with the Rally for Social Justice demonstrated his tremendous range of leadership and organizational skills,” the mayor stated, adding that Haba helped find a safe route and appropriate venue as well as assembling a multi-city police presence.
“His legacy is the quality police force he built for the protection of this city and its culture of excellence and equitability. We will all miss his constant good nature and humor.”
Historically in Beachwood, the mayor has appointed the police chief with confirmation of city council. No successor has been named as of June 24.