After more than two decades serving with the Beachwood Police Department, Gary Haba was officially sworn in as Chief on Monday, February 6, 2017. The 20 year police veteran knew he wanted to serve from a young age, frequently visiting police and fire stations as a child with his father, a local Mayor. Read more about Chief Haba here:
When did you know you wanted to be a police officer?
It was at quite a young age. My father was the mayor of Oakwood Village for 17 years and as a child I was fortunate to be able to visit the police and fire stations often. The policemen were always very nice to me. I can remember putting their hats on and sitting in the cruisers. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a soldier and a policeman and I was able to fulfill both of those wishes.
You have more than 20 years of experience with Beachwood Police Department. What do you enjoy most about working in/with the Beachwood community?
Beachwood provides a diverse and varied workload that requires me to be very well-rounded as an officer. I also enjoy the cooperation and comradery among the city departments and the overwhelming support for our department from our residents and businesses.
How do you hope to impact the Beachwood community during your time as Chief?
I think the best impact I can make to the community is to guide the department in such a way that our resources can be flexible enough to adapt quickly to changing needs. Over my career, I have seen police work and expectations change drastically and it always seems that police agencies are slower to change than the needs. I would also like to incorporate more organized community-based activities involving our personnel.
What is the biggest challenge you face and/or what is your next major professional goal?
Police work in general is in a constant state of change and expectations of officers now are as high as ever. Adapting to those changes and supporting the staff through those adaptations will always be a big challenge. As far as a goal, I would very much like every employee in my department to be better each year, both personally and professionally, than they were the one prior. Whatever I can do to help facilitate that would be what I consider a worthwhile goal.
You served in the army from 1990-1994. What did you learn from that experience?
Enlisting in the Army was probably the best thing I have ever done. I learned at the very beginning of adulthood how to be self-sufficient and respect/understand others who come from different backgrounds and places.
If you weren’t in the force, what would you be doing professionally?
I think I would be a barber because I like few things better than a fresh haircut.
Tell us a bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Oakwood Village, the youngest sibling of five boys. I attended St. Mary’s School in Bedford through sixth grade and graduated from Bedford High School in 1990.
Tell us a bit about your family. Do you have kids? Pets?
I have a daughter who is 10 years old and an excellent student. She plays volleyball, softball and is involved in Girl Scouts and other activities - all of which keeps me quite busy. My dog is a border collie named Rocket and I have a bearded dragon named Lightening.
What do you do for fun? Any hobbies?
When the weather is good, I play golf every chance I get. I also play volleyball once a week, year-round, and coach CYO volleyball in the fall. I enjoy taking my dog for walks or runs and riding bicycles with my daughter. We also visit a horse ranch in Arizona every summer.
Do you have a favorite television show or movie?
I am a big Star Wars fan. Not much into television, but I love the series Vikings on the History Channel.
What is your favorite band (or song)?
My taste in music is quite varied. I like Metallica and Neil Diamond, if that tells you anything...
If you could pack up and leave for a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?
I would visit my brother who lives in Hong Kong.
What are some of your favorite spots in Beachwood?
Bruegger’s Bagels, Petco, and Yours Truly. I find the Maltz Museum fascinating because I enjoy history a great deal.