Several members of the Cleburne Police Department were on hand Friday morning in Cleburne City Council chambers to watch Cleburne City Secretary Shelly Doty administer the oath of office to their new police chief.
“I’m excited to see so many of you here today,” incoming Police Chief Robert Severance said. “I think this is an exciting time for Cleburne and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
After reciting, and signing, the short oath, Severance said he wanted to shake the hand of all present and went on to spend several minutes visiting with members of his new department and city staff in attendance.
Johnson County Sheriff Bob Alford congratulated Severance and said he looks forward to working with him.
City Manager Rick Holden hired Severance in November. He replaces former Chief Terry Powell, who retired earlier this year after 32 years with CPD. An ad hoc selection committee assisted Holden with the hiring process, which resulted in Severance being hired from a pool of more than 40 applicants.
“It’s kind of funny how I heard about the position being open,” Severance said after Friday’s swearing in. “My son started this year as a freshman at [Southwestern Adventist University] so I was doing some research of the area and, about that same time, heard that Chief Powell was about to retire.”
Severance is hardly unfamiliar with the area. His mother and uncle grew up in Cleburne, he said, and his great-great-grandfather, Samuel Lee Davidson, settled in Cleburne in 1902 and owned land near where North Nolan River Road now runs.
Severance served as a lieutenant and Community Services Division commander for 22 years with the Grand Prairie Police Department and recently won appointment to train during the 251st Session of the FBI’s National Academy.
Taking a short break from that training last month, Severance flew into Cleburne to meet with fellow CDP officers and employees at the Cleburne Conference Center. Severance has, in the interim, visited several times to get to know his fellow officers and the town.
“I’m processing out of GPPD right now,” Severance said on Friday. “I used some of my vacation time from there this weekend and rode 12 hours with the evening and night shift officers. We have some great officers here and I’m ready to get going.”
City officials said a meet-and-greet to introduce Severance to the community will be held shortly after the new year begins.