Coming out of retirement to tackle a new career opportunity is nothing new, but for new Manatee County Chief Deputy Colonel Dwayne Denison this was a no-brainer.
Denison said he was officially sworn in as the sheriff’s second-in-command Jan. 4, but is no stranger to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Even before his career with the department started in 1985, his father served as a sheriff’s colonel. He and current Sheriff Rick Wells -- who he affectionately called Ricky -- grew up together as their fathers worked side by side. They’ve been friends for at least 35 years, Denison said.
His career in law enforcement started in 1983, when he worked for the Bradenton Police Department. After two-and-a-half years, he moved to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked until he retired June 1.
During his roughly 31 years with the sheriff’s office, Denison said he worked in nearly every aspect, including as a detective, a supervising detective, a narcotics investigator and even in the school resource program.
“Retirement was very good. But Ricky was very kind to me, so when he offered that position to me, that’s not something you pass on,” Denison said. “So that’s basically what pulled me out of retirement.”
He noted that when Wells met with him to offer him the job, it didn’t take a lot of convincing on his part.
“It’s such an honor.”
While the law enforcement side of the job is “kind of second nature” to Denison, with the new job title comes new responsibilities in management. Namely budgeting and keeping up with technology, Denison said are things he’ll have to learn.
“Budgeting issues, money. you can never have enough. Finding ways to get more monies, finding ways to utilize the money we have, that’s new for me,” Denison said. “The other thing is technology. It’s ever changing.”
Denison said part of his new role will be to make sure they have all the right tools and equipment. But no matter the challenges, Denison is ready to tackle them head on, saying he’s “absolutely looking forward” to the position.
Luckily for him, Denison said there aren’t a lot of big changes planned as he settles into the new position.
“Fortunately for us Sheriff (Brad) Steube did a tremendous job, there’s nothing that needs a tremendous amount of work. Biggest thing I want to do is continue the progressing,” Denison said.
He said he wants to assure county citizens that he and the rest of the sheriff’s office will continue do everything they can to keep the county safe.
“And continue the legacy Steube left, continue to secure the county and community citizens, and make this a place employees are proud to work for and enjoy working for,” Denison said.
When he’s not busy keeping the streets safe from crime, Denison may be found spending time outdoors. Whether its with his 1968 convertible Pontiac Firebird or out in the woods, he finds ways to stay busy, even when he’s not.