Chief of Police retires after 33 years with Riverview PD

DAVE GORGON

Chief of Police Clifford Rosebohm, who served on the Riverview Police Department for 33 years, has retired.

Rosebohm, who was chief for more than seven years, recently wrapped up a law-enforcement career that spanned 35 years, the first two in the Upper Peninsula.

“I’m looking forward to reclaiming some time with my family,” Rosebohm said. “I know them very well, but law enforcement is one of those things that forces you to take time away from your family, so you can look out for everyone else’s best interest. Now it’s time to look out for my family’s best interest. Now is the time to pass the torch to someone else.”

Family includes his wife of 28 years Renee, a native of Woodhaven who oversees the records bureau in the Taylor Police Department. The couple has purchased a home in Tennessee, which is the residence of their three adult children: daughter Stephanie, who sells insurance; son Blake, an Army veteran working in a printing plant; and son Reece, who works for a private utility locating company.

City officials are conducting a nationwide search to replace Rosebohm. Lt. Richard Troup has been named interim chief.

Chief Rosebohm “has been in the position for over seven years,” said City Manager Douglas Drysdale, “in addition to the time he spent as deputy police chief. With all of his experience and connections to neighboring communities, it will be difficult to replace him. His ability to interact with people and his commitment to the city and his department is something that stood out during the time I spent working with him.

“I’m happy for the chief for his retirement. He spent 33-plus years here at the city and certainly deserves it. He will be missed as he was part of my executive team and offered great feedback when asked.”

Mayor Andrew Swift agreed.

“As Mayor and councilman, I have always found Chief Rosebohm very open and honest,” Swift said. “I have always admired his straight-to-the-point answers to questions brought by council and residents …

“On behalf of myself, council, staff and Riverview residents, we wish Chief Rosebohm and his family the best in retirement.”

Rosebohm said he came from “humble beginnings” as a native of Harbor Springs, 10 miles north of Petoskey in northern lower Michigan – and people who know him say he has remained humble and low key.

The youngest of three children of Cliff Sr. and Annette, Rosebohm also had an uncle who was a sheriff’s deputy in Traverse County, Texas. As a child, the younger Rosebohm recalled attending a fair and stopping by the sheriff’s deputy booth.

“They didn’t hand out badges back in the day, they handed out pamphlets,” about a career in law enforcement, Rosebohm said. “I thought it was cool and could be good work.”

Rosebohm said he had a “typical childhood” that you might have in a small hometown. He “was into all kinds of stuff.” He skied and played tennis, golf and football, graduating from Harbor Springs High School.

He attended North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, earning an associates degree in liberal arts in 1984, but was leaning toward a career in macroeconomics.

He also volunteered with the Harbor Springs police reserve unit, which allowed him to wear a uniform and vest and learn about weapons. One night, he was on duty when there was a chase involving the Michigan State Police that was heading into Harbor Springs. It was a mile away from his parents’ house and there was a police roadblock. The suspect drove past the roadblock, went around a big sweeping curve into a gully, ditched the car and ran into the subdivision.

Rosebohm said he got into a foot chase, saw a pair of hands sticking out of a doghouse and ordered the person not to move. When he observed police officers converge and arrest the suspect, “I knew right there I’ve got to do this the rest of my life.”

That fall, Rosebohm entered a police academy, the Kalamazoo Valley Regional Training Academy, graduating in December.

His first paid job in law enforcement was a memorable one on Mackinac Island in 1985. During the winter, he was one of only three police officers and much of his job was on foot patrol wearing snowshoes when the weather called for them. Part of his patrol area was near the Grand Hotel. In the summer, the department grew to as many as seven and the department received assistance from the Michigan State Police St. Ignace Post.

“On Mackinac Island, there were 10,000 people at any given time in the summer,” he said. “When the boats stopped running, we were down to 500 people and only three officers.”

The next year, Rosebohm was hired by the St. Ignace Police Department across the bay on the Lake Huron side. He worked in the uniform division, drove a patrol car and worked closely with the Mackinac County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police. He patrolled more service streets and two freeways, serving as a “swingman,” getting a pay boost when he worked midnights.

“It was a different type of policing,” he said. “I learned a lot from the guys I worked with on a five-man department. You find good mentors everywhere.”

In 1987, Rosebohm applied to work for the Riverview Police Department “and I never looked back.”

He advanced through the ranks, starting as patrolman and then detective. He was a road sergeant in 2000 when he graduated from Eastern Michigan University’s School of Police Staff and Command – a program with a reputation for excellence.

He was promoted to deputy chief from 2010 to September 2013. During that time, he continued his college education, earning a bachelor of science degree and graduating with the highest honors from Madonna University in May 2011.

He also attended the fire academy in Rochester and was certified, which came in handy when he was named fire chief/police chief and guided both departments from 2013 to 2018.

Always interested in bettering himself on behalf of the department, the chief graduated from the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, in 2015.

He represented the city in Downriver Mutual Aid Chiefs, an organization that brings departments together for the betterment of all. He served as operation director for the last three years.

City Manager Drysdale noted that Rosebohm “has also served as our emergency manager and led the city and staff through the current pandemic by procuring personal protection equipment for our police, fire EMS and the long-term care facilities and adult foster care facilities in our city. In addition, the chief oversaw a peaceful demonstration at the Metro Church. 

Most recently, the chief assisted with demonstrations related to the Black Lives Matter protests by being proactive with the organizers and working with other city departments to ensure peace and safety for all involved.”

Mayor Swift said he enjoyed working with the chief on several community events, including the Riverview Memorial Day Motorcycle Parade, marches and a recent community food distribution.

Rosebohm said one of his goals was to “give the department the latest and greatest” equipment to help get the job done. He rebranded the department in terms of how the police cars looked and was proud of always being under budget – all while the community was one of the safest cities in the state.

“My proudest achievement was being able to build a good department to rely on and trust,” he said. “To know that when you call, our guys and gals will be there and take care of business.

“I’ve been blessed and favored to have good people, a good family, good training and good mentors. I’ve exploited the opportunities I’ve had. You have an opportunity, you take advantage of the opportunity to the ‘nth degree. You exploit the moment for what it is and then move on to the next. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be anywhere.”

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