Chief Couch is responsible for leading the Athens Police Department in their mission to keep Athens a safe and comfortable place to live, work and raise a family.
Cliff was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida. After graduating High School, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps. During his four years there, he served as a member of the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team and the infantry.
Upon receiving an Honorable Discharge, he returned to Tallahassee to attend school. A few years later, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University with a double major in Criminology and Psychology. A few years after that, he graduated from Florida State again, this time with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of Virginia.
Cliff served approximately seven years as a member of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office in Tallahassee. During that time, he worked as a Patrolman, School Resource Officer, Vice/ Narcotics Detective, and Violent Crimes Detective. He also served as a member of the agency’s SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team.
In 2011, he became the Chief of Police in Goodland, Kansas. In 2015, he became the Chief of Police in Great Bend, KS. He was appointed the Chief of Police in Athens in 2017 and has served in that capacity ever since.
In addition to his various degrees, Chief Couch has also received special training in Homicide Investigations, School Resource Operations, Narcotics Operations (including the DEA’s Basic Narcotics School), Undercover Operations, and various other law enforcement related subjects.
He has also completed numerous courses in leadership and administration, such as the Kansas Police Administrators Seminar and Harvard University’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program. In 2014 he graduated from Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command. In 2018, he graduated with Class 274 of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Chief Couch ascribes to an “Andy Griffith” approach to policing that emphasizes common sense, problem solving, and (when possible) compassion.