Vol 6 No. 50 - September 6, 2006

This officer is waiting for a call

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – As the seabirds fly overhead and the waves wash ashore a block away, police Sgt. Chuck Sloan gets in his patrol car and heads off to answer a call. It’s just another day in this small beachfront resort town like many he’s put in during his 12 years on the job.

While each call is important to him and he does his best to resolve whatever the problem is, he’s still waiting for another call. One that will take him to Quantico, Va., and a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A top notch police officer who has risen through the ranks, Sloan has put a lot of energy into what he does both on and off duty. He was recently honored by the chief for responding to a car accident at the Manatee Avenue Bridge and going into the water with a Holmes Beach officer to save the life of one of the two young men in the vehicle.

SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT

Bradenton Beach Police Sgt. Chuck Sloan spent the past 12 years working as a police officer, getting an education and passing the Florida Bar exam. He is now waiting to hear from the FBI regarding his application for a position as a special agent.

While off-duty, he earned a college degree, recently passed the Florida Bar exam and has applied to become an FBI agent.

One question one might ask is whether he wanted to be a police officer or a lawyer.

"I always wanted to be a cop," he said, "but I always had it in my mind that I wanted to go to college."

A native of Bradenton, he graduated from high school and went to the police academy, but he was only 19 years old when he graduated.

"I was considered too young for a lot of departments to hire," he said. "My grades were good, but they didn’t want to take a chance."

Instead of donning a uniform, he ended up working at Beall’s Department Stores where he took classes at Manatee Technical Institute in his spare time. Finally, he landed his first police position in Bradenton Beach.

"I actually heard about it from a friend who had gone through the academy with me and had gotten a job here," he said. "He told me it was a good department with good leadership, so I applied."

He embraced the opportunity and applied himself, moving up the ranks from reserve officer to sergeant. While doing so, he enrolled in St. George College and earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice. After that, it was Warner Southern College, which had a satellite facility in Bradenton and got his bachelor’s degree in management with concentration in public administration.

He finally found out about a part-time program from Stetson College that would allow College that would allow him to work and get his law degree, so he did, balancing his time between the classroom, the police department and another job, teaching at the Manatee County Police Academy.

"The last four years have been plenty rough, working here, taking classes and teaching," he said. "They’ve been great here about scheduling me so I could do everything, especially Lt. (John) Cosby."

During his time at Bradenton Beach, Sloan and other officers formed a dive team. He went on to get certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. He now trains reserve officers and when they are ready, they go to school to get certified in rescue diving.

Sloan figures between his experience and education, he will never want for a job, although he’s not too sure about hanging out a shingle and becoming a lawyer.

"I don’t know if I could handle civil law," he said.

His girlfriend, Colleen O’Donnell, also has a law degree and she was a great help when he went through the process.

"When we met, she had just taken the Bar exam," he said. "She helped me study and told me what to expect."

As for his career, Sloan talks about his ambition.

"Pretty much, everything I get interested in, I try to go all the way," he said.

Police Chief Sam Speciale was the one who suggested Sloan go for an advanced degree, although he knows the day will come when he will regret it.

"He’s a great officer who has been a great addition to the department," Speciale said. "I’m going to hate to see him go."

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