CLEARWATER, FL. – A former longtime chief of the Clearwater Police Department was inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame in Tallahassee this morning.
Chief Sidney R. Klein, who died in 2020, was among several who were honored.
He was chief of police in Clearwater for 29 years and was in law enforcement for 47 years. He also served in the U.S. Navy for three years.
Chief Klein began his law enforcement career in 1963 with the Miami-Dade Sheriff’s Department. In 1966, he was assigned to Internal Affairs where he worked in a special investigative unit called “the sheriff’s squad,” which reported directly to Sheriff E. Wilson Purdy.
This squad specifically worked cases involving organized crime and political corruption. In 1968, he began working undercover in the narcotics unit.
In 1970, he moved to Colorado to join the new Lakewood Department of Public Safety. Named agent of the year in 1970 and 1971, he was promoted through the ranks to assistant director in 1978, while also earning his master’s degree in criminal justice.
In 1981, he applied for and was selected as Clearwater’s chief of police, where he served for 29 years. Chief Klein distinguished himself with innovative programs such as the Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project, Hispanic Outreach Program and countless community policing initiatives which won national recognition. He applied for and received the first federal grant to create a human trafficking task force, a program that has been duplicated all over the world.
He retired from the Clearwater Police Department in 2010, after 47 years in law enforcement. Chief Klein’s passing in 2020 leaves behind an incredible legacy of leadership and countless contributions to the communities he served.
“Chief Klein instilled an organizational culture at CPD that embraces community engagement, problem solving and partnerships,” said Dan Slaughter, current chief of the Clearwater Police Department. “The community still benefits today from his work, and will for many years to come.”
The inductees were nominated by the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Police Benevolent Association, Fraternal Order of Police and the State Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association, and then were selected by a committee. The inductees were approved by Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Cabinet.
The Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame was created by the 2014 Florida Legislature to recognize and honor law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of Florida’s citizens and visitors through their works, service, and exemplary accomplishments.