It’s been a busy six months since Cleburne Police Chief Robert Severance was hired at the end of December, a time of change and unexpected surprises.
“The tornadoes were a little bit unexpected,” Severance said. “It’s kind of ironic, the Times-Review did an article where I talked to the Lions Club a couple of weeks before that where I talked about safety preparedness, including the possibility of tornadoes in Cleburne. Since then, some of the folks here are like, ‘Well, don’t talk about anything else that might happen.’
“But I was impressed by how everyone reached out and worked together on that, and the help from outside the city. We had over 120 law enforcement officers from maybe 16 different agencies who came to assist.”
Severance — who was hired in November and began Dec. 31 — replaced former CPD Chief Terry Powell, who retired last year after 32 years with the department.
Cleburne City Manager Rick Holden, with the assistance of an ad hoc interviewing committee, chose Severance from a pool of more than 40 applicants.
“He meets very dynamically the needs of our department in the future,” Holden said shortly after the city council ratified Severance’s employment. “I think [fellow CPD officers and the community] are going to be very excited to see some opportunities about personal development and opportunities to help move this department in a direction that’s probably unheralded.”
Severance previously served as a lieutenant and Community Services Division commander, in addition to other positions, for 22 years with the Grand Prairie Police Department. He also won appointment last year to the 251st Session of the FBI’s National Academy, a highly selective honor whereby officers are nominated to attend. Severance earned a degree in criminal justice and communication from Dallas Baptist University and is working toward a Master of Science degree from Amberton University.