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