Chief Harry Anderson, of the Clawson Police Department, is set to retire Dec. 28 after serving the department  for 34 years.

Chief Harry Anderson, of the Clawson Police Department, is set to retire Dec. 28 after serving the department for 34 years.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Clawson police chief to retire in December

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published October 30, 2018


CLAWSON — Clawson Police Chief Harry Anderson is slated to work his last day Dec. 28 after serving the department for 34 years.

Anderson, a Royal Oak resident, spent his entire law enforcement career with the city of Clawson after signing on in July 1984.

He said he and his wife opted to live in Royal Oak over Clawson because he didn’t want his children to be affected by his work. The couple has four boys — two of whom are police officers — as well as a grandchild and another grandchild on the way.

“I grew up in a law enforcement family,” Anderson said. “My dad worked in Detroit, then he retired and he became the director of public safety in Berkley.”

While the Police Department remains housed in the same building, Anderson said much has changed in the way of technology.

“We used to do our own dispatching,” he said. “It was a whole lot simpler back then. Traffic tickets were paper tickets, and reports were handwritten.”

One of his favorite experiences over the years, Anderson said, was his two-year stint from 1991 to 1993 as the city’s first Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer.

“That was a whole lot of fun,” he said. “When you’re on the road, you tend to deal with a lot of people that are doing things wrong. (Being in the schools) gave me a fresh look at all the good people you see in the schools, and I was working on things that were preventative instead of reactive.”

In 1993, Anderson was promoted to sergeant, so he had to vacate the position of D.A.R.E. officer. Six months later, he was promoted to lieutenant. In 2002, he served as interim chief for a year, and then, in 2007, he was promoted to chief of police.

In 2004 and 2005, the department underwent a restructuring and contracted out its dispatch and jail services, which allowed it to cut costs.

“As chief, I’ve been blessed with some really good supervisors and a good department,” Anderson said. “Our department was almost contracted out by the Sheriff’s (Office) in 2005, which was kind of a wake-up call to get more focused and involved in the community.”

Since then, he said, the department hosts annual community initiatives, such as a scholarship program for students who wish to pursue a career in law enforcement; a kids versus cops basketball game; and a backpack and school supply drive. The department also participates in the city’s Trick-or-Treat Trail.

“It really is nice to be involved with a small community like this,” Anderson said. “There’s nothing I can complain about with my career. Clawson has great people, and it’s very rewarding to have those relationships with various people in the community.”

As for the next step, Anderson said he intends to “play it by ear.”

“I want to get another job,” he said. “It’s just a matter of finding out the right avenue I want to go down. Whatever direction I go, I want to do it still using my mind and still being involved and contributing.”

On Oct. 22, Detective Lt. Scott Sarvello, Sgt. Dave Scott and Sgt. Kelly Bauss interviewed separately for the position of chief.

Clawson City Manager Mark Pollock said four command officers met the requirements, and three agreed to interview for the position.

Next week, he said, city officials plan to meet with the three candidates at the same time for a second interview process.

“We did the interviews and deliberated, and our consensus was that the decision was not made yet,” Pollock said. “We will have some final discussion (next week) and make a recommendation that goes to council for approval.”

He said the City Council would likely vote on the recommendation during its second meeting in November, and that the new chief would start Jan. 1.

The city is also in the process of promoting a patrol officer to the position of sergeant to replace the command officer it selects as chief, and Pollock said the city planned to hire a new patrol officer to fill the vacancy shortly after the beginning of the year.

“(Anderson) has been an ideal chief to work with, both personally and administratively,” Pollock said. “From my standpoint, he’s always been very well-prepared — he does his homework. I consider him a friend as well. I will miss him, but I envy him.”