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Police Home > History > Clearwater Police - Chief John E. Swift

Chief John E. Swift, Sr.

1944 - 1946

Due to the unavailability of records for this period, information on the career of Chief John E. Swift is incomplete.It is known that he joined the Clearwater Police Department in 1927 as a patrolman. His advancement in rank, other than his appointment as Chief of Police on August 7, 1944, is unknown.As a patrolman, he was cited on December 2, 1929 for his role in the apprehension of a man who had shot and killed a St. Petersburg Police Department motorcycle officer. (Additional information on this incident can be found in the biography of Chief E. F. Gross.)

Chief Swift and the Clearwater Police Department were featured in the October 1946 issue of the “Florida Peace Officer” magazine.Information from that issue is quoted, in part, below: 

“Clearwater, County Seat of Pinellas County, situated on the Gulf of Mexico, one of Florida’s most beautiful cities…has a streamlined police department that size-for-size compares most favorably with the best to be found anywhere in the United States. Although the personnel of this department at present numbers only 21 officers, it is ably serving a city that has burgeoned from a population of some 7,000 in 1930 to around 17,000 in the present year.

Chief Swift is one of the Florida police chiefs who have found their way to the top through long years of efficient service in all departments of city policing…During the two years that he has been heading the Clearwater department, Chief Swift has streamlined the force in an effective manner. He demands loyal, efficient service from the members of his force and has formed a team of officers capable of handling all routine forms of law enforcement and able to meet any emergencies.”

Chief Swift established the first detective bureau within the department in 1946. He resigned from the department in late 1946 and was succeeded in Chief J.J. Elliott. Chief Swift passed away in Pinellas County on May 20, 1951.  

If you have additional information on Chief Swift's life and career, we would like to hear from you. Contact us at

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