Thursday, August 15, 2013
Sgt. Shannon Sharp, 42, of Summerville is a multi-faceted man. For Summerville Police Department, he is an assistant supervisor for the day shift overseeing Patrol Team 3.
He has been with SPD for 13 years.
He grew up “all over,” as his dad was in the paper industry, which required them to move around. Born in Ohio, he has lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon, New Jersey and Connecticut. Right after graduating from high school, he announced he was joining the Army much to his dad’s surprise. His dad, he says, well remembered Viet Nam, and tried to dissuade him to no avail.
A year later, Sharp recalls sitting in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert, writing his dad, telling him he should have listened to him.
After three years as a long-range surveillance specialist, Sharp left the Army.
He went to college for a bit at Central Michigan University, having been persuaded to give it a try by an army buddy. “A 21-year-old in with a bunch of 18-year-olds, was not my thing,” says Sharp. So he left college and moved to New Jersey. “It is really hard to get into law enforcement in New Jersey,” he recalls, “the waiting list is years-long.”
So he and his little sister moved to Savannah where there was a six-month wait to get hired at the Savannah Police Department. In the interim, he went to work for the College of Charleston Department of Public Safety. In Charleston he met Lt. Doug Wright who urged him to apply to Summerville Police Department. He did and was hired in 2000.
Why so anxious to be a cop? His grandfather was a police officer in Springfield, Ohio and his grandparent’s uncle had been the chief of police there. It was family tradition.
He has, in addition to police academy training, done extensive gang recognition training and spent six years in investigations. He has not worked in narcotics but has had “all sorts of other training including FBI sponsored training.” He is also trained to deal with domestic violence.
He loves being on the road, he says, and, in his supervisory capacity, goes to all the calls he can to help out. He says he might like to climb the career ladder as high as Lieutenant but probably not any higher because “then you’re off the road.”
“I like dealing first-hand with cases and people,” he explains.
Sharp recalls one case that was “a real eye-opener” for him. “An idiot shot at me! We were on the night shift and we caught three people coming out of a building they had broken into. I had to disarm one man who had a screwdriver,” he continues. “It was intense. His partner ran away and ran right into a fence frame. Turned out he had a small derringer and had tried to fire it at me but the bullets didn’t fire.”
Sharp says it is satisfying when they can get a murder suspect to confess. He recalls a man who had his motorcycle stolen and he remembers not being able to find it. “I figured it was long gone to a chop shop. Then, a while later, on a completely unrelated call, I found it out behind the suspect’s house on the other case. The guy [motorcycle owner] was so happy!”
Oh, and almost as an aside, he suddenly remembers he was the South Carolina Officer of the Year for the 40 and 8 Service Club. His nomination was a result of one of his homicide by child abuse cases where he had been recognized by the Fraternal Order of Police, which then submitted his recognition letter to the 40/8 which, in turn, awarded him Officer of the Year.
When he’s not dealing with the community? He spends his time with his family, “two crazy dogs” – Lucy, whose breed, he says, is “Brown Dog” and Max, a female German Shepherd. His wife, Penny, is a respiratory therapist at MUSC. They are the proud parents of three children – Elias, 11, Nora, 6 and Sam, 5. They adopted Nora and Sam from China.
Sharp loves to read in his spare time. “I read everything,” he says, “history, science, even crime.” When he had more time, he was on the department pistol team and won “a bunch of trophies.” He no longer has enough time.
He likes sports and was good enough at baseball to be offered a scholarship back in his high school days.
Another love of his is cooking. In fact, he enjoys it so much that he and his dad wrote a cookbook together.
“It’s not published,” he says, “and it’s not fancy cuisine…just regular food like chicken Parmesan, fried chicken, Buffalo wings…you know, that sort of stuff.”
He describes a lot of plain old good comfort food and he says he cooks the meals when he is home.
So where did ex-army, current law enforcement learn to cook? Home Ec., of course.
“I told my mom,” he explains, “that I wasn’t getting married so I would need to know how to cook my own meals, mend my own clothes, iron, etc., and she reluctantly agreed to let me take Home Ec. There were girls involved, of course, but she didn’t know that.”
So, yes, he can iron, sew and cook.
“My wife is very good about it and she let’s me cook,” he laughs.