MANATEE -- Longboat Key Police Chief Al Hogle was killed today when he crashed his motorcycle while on a vacation trip in North Carolina.
"He was on a motorcycle outing with friends in North Carolina," said Paul Dezzi, fire chief of Longboat Key. "One of the officers he was with made contact with us and told us he just went off the road, hit a tree and died instantly.
"We are not sure exactly what happened," Dezzi said. "We don't know if he slid off the road. He went on this trip every year. He knew what he was doing. None of us really know right now."
The accident happened at 1 p.m.
Hogle, much admired by both law enforcement officers and residents throughout the area, has been police chief in Longboat Key since late 2002.
Hogle served as police chief for the city of Bradenton from September 2001 until December 2002, according to Longboat Key town clerk Trish Granger.
Hogle was replaced by Bradenton Police Chief Mike Radzilowski.
Hogle was also a city commissioner in Sarasota from 1989 through September 2001, Granger said.
"Al was also mayor for the city of Sarasota in the 1990s," Dezzi said.
By far Hogle's longest work tenure was from 1970 to 1998, when he was with the Sarasota Police Department as a SWAT commander and a leader in narcotics suppression, Dezzi said.
He retired as a captain with the Sarasota Police Department, Dezzi added.
"Wonderful man, close friend, great family man, a great husband, magnificent police officer," Captain Bill Tokajer of the Longboat Key Police Department said of Hogle.
At about 3 p.m., when word was received of Hogle's death, his captains went together to his house in Sarasota County to tell his wife, Leslie, of his passing, Dezzi said.
"Al Hogle was truly a great guy and gentleman," said Radzilowski. "He was always mild-mannered and soft spoken. He was my friend and I will truly miss him."