Dr. Melanie Bevan
2010, Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership
Argosy University, Sarasota
Chief of Police for Bradenton, Florida Police Department
“My degree really redefined me as a person and contributed to the leader I am today.”
Bradenton Chief of Police, Appointed to Florida Statewide Council on Human Trafficking
Dr. Melanie Bevan, chief of police in Bradenton, Florida, was recently appointed to the Florida Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. Chief Bevan, who has been with the police department for nearly two years, was appointed to the council by Governor Rick Scott. “ I’ve been in policing for 31 years,” she said. “I started as a cadet in 1986 at St. Petersburg Police Department and worked my way up to assistant chief of police before retiring to become the chief of police of the Bradenton Police Department in 2016.”
Today, she manages a department of 120 police officers and another 40 civilians—serving a population of nearly 54,000 residents. She added that she decided to pursue a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership because she was interested in growing herself as a leader and police training courses were limited at that time. “My initial goal was not to achieve a Doctor of Education,” she stated. “I was just going to take a couple of classes to better myself personally and professionally. This was before full online classes and Argosy University, Sarasota offered me what I was looking for with flexibility, including nighttime and weekend classes that accommodated my work schedule.”
While acknowledging that a degree alone cannot make someone an effective leader, the knowledge she gained in school helped her to better identify and nurture future leaders. “In my profession, it’s important to identify young leaders within my agency to prepare them to someday take my place,” she said. “I still rely on many of my Argosy University textbooks when preparing interview scenarios, promotional exams and leadership training sessions. My degree really redefined me as a person and contributed to the leader I am today.”
She noted that two instructors had a large impact on her—during school and to this day. “Dr. Celia Edmundson and Dr. Jerry Strand [mentored me],” she stated. “Dr. Strand came to my chief of police swearing-in ceremony in Bradenton, five years after my graduation. He remains a role model and friend all these years later. My success at Argosy is due largely to his influence.”
Bevan also cites Dr. Edmundson’s profound influence in her career. After Dr. Edmundson passed away, Bevan took the time to write a letter to Edmundson’s family, explaining the positive impact she had on students. “Dr. Edmundson was very sick but still attempted to attend my swearing in,” Bevan said. “I was so honored that she had considered attending the ceremony with her friend, Dr. Strand. While her illness got the best of her, the fact that she thought enough of me to attempt the trip in the first place meant a great deal to me.”
Now that Bevan herself is an instructor, she takes the knowledge gained from her mentors and imparts it upon her own students. “Dr. Edmundson taught me about leadership and about life, with such class and with great ease,” Bevan added. “I recall about four years into the program, I had decided to give up. I hadn’t told anyone, I just didn’t register for classes. Dr. Edmundson became wise to what I was doing and pushed me to press on in spite of having two young children and working full-time. When I faced similar hurdles during my dissertation phase, she simply kept reminding me not to give up on myself. To this day, students in my classroom learn how to write like a college-level student with great emphasis placed on properly crediting sources—something very important to Dr. Edmundson.”
Bevan participated in the 2012 Republican National Convention (RNC) executive steering committee and represented the City of St. Petersburg as the lead planner and coordinator. She also co-authored an article published in a 2012 issue of the Police Chief Magazine entitled “Shave Seconds, Increase Safety: Innovative Deployment Practices for Critical Equipment Increase Officer Safety,” that summarized the details surrounding the line-of-duty deaths of three St. Petersburg police officers in 2011—and the innovative protective measures taken by the police department following these deaths. Bevan will fill the vacant seat on the Council of Human Trafficking with a term running through June 30, 2018.
Bevan earned a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Argosy University, Sarasota in 2010. She also holds a Master of Public Administration from Troy State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University. She recommends that current students see the program through. “After taking 10 years to complete my undergraduate and graduate degrees due to shift work and raising kids, I made the final commitment to obtain my Doctor of Education, which took seven years,” she said. “It opened doors for me I that never imagined were possible, including where I am today. My education is a testament that success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey that has its rewards and challenges along the way.”
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