Steve Sharron’s experience installing an aluminum roof on a mobile home during a sunny, summer day in Florida is what ultimately helped him decide he wanted to work in law enforcement.
As a teenager he had once wanted to become a park ranger, and after high school joined the United States Marine Corps.
But while on a break from working on the roof, he said he looked down and saw something that had a strong effect on him.
“On one hot, summer day, I took a break on the roof, looked down and saw a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy pull up,” Sharron said. “He looked sharp in his uniform and I saw wind blowing his hair.”
The deputy’s demeanor intrigued Sharron, who said he was also looking for a long-term career. That same week, he went to St. Petersburg College, then a junior college, to enroll in the criminal justice program.
He later moved to East Texas to be with his wife, Carol - who is from Lindale - and joined the Tyler Police Department in 1986.
On Friday, Sharron, now 59, retired as the assistant police chief over the investigative divisions at the Tyler Police Department - having worked for the department for 30 years.
He now smiles when recalling the day he spotted that sheriff’s deputy, and as time has passed he believes he was drawn to something deeper.
“I think the moral behind the story is that as a police officer you never know what kind of influences you are going to have,” Sharron said. “Police officers just by their presence sometimes have a strong impact on people’s lives.”
Sharron began his job at the department as a patrol officer on Oct. 1, 1986, and said his first couple of years on the job proved to him that he was in the right profession.
He also began to develop a desire to lead. He was promoted to sergeant in 1992 and was the first supervisor of the Tyler Police Department Bicycle Unit.
In December 1995, he was promoted to lieutenant. Two years later, he was selected as the department’s supervisor of the year.
Lt. Sharron was promoted to assistant chief under former Police Chief Gary Swindle in March 2001.
“Steve Sharron is a man that truly is a leader,” Swindle said. “He never would ask his troops to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself. I recognized that from day one, when (we) were working midnights.”
Swindle said that one of the biggest things he appreciated about Sharron during their time working together is that he could always rely on him to give him his honest opinion.
“Steve was not a yes man by any means,” Swindle said. “We had quite a few shouting matches in my office but that made this department better - having good opinions.
“I want to say thank you, and I know (we) are going to stay in touch,” he said.
Over his years of serving as an assistant chief, Sharron supervised the patrol division and most recently the investigative division.
Along the way, Sharron attended a variety of colleges and trainings to prepare him for his roles.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Tyler and a Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma. He was selected to attend the FBI National Academy, completing the course with Session 218.
One of the roles current Tyler Police Chief Jimmy Toler best remembers Sharron fulfilling is that of the field training coordinator.
“The days when we would do our weapon retention he would like to actually practice his judo on us,” Toler said.
He added that Sharron has also been a great example of how to be a leader.
“(He taught me) the necessity to make tough and difficult decisions,” Toler said. “(His) legacy is going to be with us for a long time as we go forward
Excited for the future
When Sharron officially retired Friday, he accomplished one more goal.
“(Working) 30 years for the department was always my goal,” Sharron said. “I think it’s an exciting chapter of my life where I’m ready to move on.”
Though Sharron has numerous accomplishments during his tenure at the department, he said he is most proud that no officers lost their lives under his command.
He also said it was fun to witness the growth of the department-the number of officers has grown from about 120 to nearly 200 since he joined. He also expressed that he will miss the brave men and women he has gotten to know and work with.
“It’s really easy to be a supervisor why you have great people around you,” he said. “My favorite memories are about the people I’ve worked with.”
Sharron’s future plans include renovating several real estate properties he owns and teaching law enforcement trainings.
Looking back, he said he is very happy that he decided to be a police officer.
“I cant imagine having any other job that what I’ve been doing for the last 30 years,” Sharron said.