Chief introduces new Cleveland police captains, master patrol officers

During the Cleveland City Council meeting Monday, Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson introduced his new command staff: Capt. Stacy Smith, captain of operations, left, and Capt. Robert Harbison, captain of professional standards.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - The Cleveland Police Department has a new command staff and has expanded the number of its master patrol officers.

In a recent meeting, Chief Mark Gibson introduced Capts. Stacy Smith and Robert Harbison and a number of newly appointed master patrol officers - patrol officers with advanced skills - to the Cleveland City Council.

"I think they've had a great career with the police department, and they've always stood up and done what I needed them to do, what I asked them to do," said Gibson of the two captains, whose promotions were announced Oct. 16. "I really expect a lot out of them."

photo Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson, left, introduces master patrol officers Antony Cochran, Jody Musselwhite, Brandy Brown, Travis Graig and Kody Fox during the Nov. 9 Cleveland City Council meeting.

Smith, a 16-year veteran of the Cleveland Police Department, serves as captain of operations, according to a department announcement. He served five years as a patrolman, followed by five years as investigator with the Criminal Investigations Division and the Special Investigations Unit. He subsequently held positions as a patrol team supervisor and as a shift commander after he was promoted to lieutenant in 2012.

Harbison, who has spent 21 years of his 22-year career in law enforcement with the Cleveland Police Department, serves as captain of professional standards. He has served on patrol and as investigator with the Criminal Investigations Division. Harbison has supervised the division since 2008, when he was promoted to lieutenant.

He is the first Cleveland police officer to serve as captain of professional standards, which oversees Internal Affairs and the Detective Division. The position was created this summer as part of a comprehensive review and revision of police department organization, policies and procedures following the demotion of then-Chief Dennis Maddux in connection to a highly publicized scandal involving a subordinate's wife in March.

In the past seven months, Harbison and Smith both "stepped up to the plate" while the police department underwent a transitional period, said Gibson, who served as interim chief from March until he was appointed as chief in late September.

Gibson publicly welcomed five of the department's six new master patrol officers: Brandy Bowman, Jody Musselwhite, Anthony Cochran, Travis Graig and Kody Fox.

The police department recently announced that Brett Taylor and the five officers had assumed their new assignments, joining master patrol officers Brian Montgomery and Mike Ricker.

Consultant Larry Wallace, a former director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, applauded the city's decision to go forward with a recommendation that called for an increase of master patrol officers and a redefinition of their role as part of the top-to-bottom police department review.

"This is a good move, and it will really help them," Wallace said.

Several of the new master patrol officers have experience as field training officers or as members of the SWAT team, said Gibson.

"They'll serve in supervisory roles and, on an as-needed basis, they'll take on extra responsibilities on the team," Gibson said. "They will ensure the team runs smooth on a day-to-day basis and [they] give the sergeants and lieutenants another person to go to."

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at [email protected]