Cleveland names Capt. J. David Bishop police chief

Cleveland names Capt. J. David Bishop police chief

January 11th, 2014 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

J. David Bishop

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - At least one Cleveland City Council member is concerned about Friday's hiring of Capt. J. David Bishop as the city's new police chief.

"I don't know if he is the right one to hold [the police department] together," said Councilman George Poe, admitting he does not know Bishop very well. "I just hope he can keep a 10-year track record like [former Chief Wes] Snyder."

City Manager Janice Casteel, who annouced her decision to hire Bishop on Friday, said she is confident in his ability to lead a progressive department.

"His strong leadership abilities will strengthen the accountability within the Cleveland Police Department, and I look forward to working with him to achieve his goals for the department," she said.

Poe said decisions about the city's police chief should be in the hands of the City Council, because those elected officials are the voice of the people.

"I feel that's the way it should be, instead of getting a memo that says take it or leave it," he said.

Bishop, who has served as interim police chief since Snyder announced his retirement in December, will be sworn in Monday at the council's 3 p.m. meeting.

"I am pleased and honored to serve the city of Cleveland as chief," Bishop said. "I am humbled by the confidence the city manager and city council have in my ability to serve in this position. I look forward to working with the administration and officers to enhance the quality of life in Cleveland."

Bishop has served with the Cleveland Police Department for 30 years and was promoted to captain of operations in 2008, according to Casteel's announcement. His department service includes work as an undercover narcotics officer, a criminal investigator and a training officer.

He has received a number of awards, including detective of the year, officer of the year and supervisor of the year.

Snyder officially retired on Jan. 5, the 10th anniversary of his appointment to the chief position.

He abruptly announced his retirement on Dec. 6 and immediately went on leave, two days after security videotape surfaced that showed him repeatedly rendezvousing with MainStreet Cleveland Executive Director Sharon Marr in a rental unit at a controlled storage facility on Old Tasso Road.

Snyder attempted to rescind his decision to retire two days before it became effective, but was rebuffed by the city manager.

"My decision was made hastily and under significant emotional duress," Snyder wrote in a letter to Casteel on Jan. 3. "I apologize for the confusion but I would respectfully like to continue my service to the City of Cleveland. I will accept any noted reprimand in accordance with the current progressive disciplinary processes afforded all City employees."

In a responding memo, Casteel said it was "not in the City's best interest" to accept his letter of rescission.

Snyder could not be reached Friday for comment.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.