June 28, 2024

First Responders: Charles Broadway

2.6 min read| Published On: June 28th, 2024|

By Roxanne Brown

First Responders: Charles Broadway

2.6 min read| Published On: June 28th, 2024|

Clermont’s First African American Police Chief champions community, officer wellness and leads his department with pride and purpose.

Clermont Police Chief Charles “Chuck” Broadway embodies dedication and service. 

A native New Yorker, Chief Broadway’s path to law enforcement was driven by a passion for community service encouraged by a close friend in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). After graduating from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in business management, a young Chuck Broadway followed his heart and joined the NYPD in 1996.

“I joined this profession to make a difference in the lives of other people and in the community that I vow to serve and to protect,” Chief Broadway says. 

That commitment and his entire career is marked by significant moments, none more profound than his experiences during 9/11. Chief Broadway vividly recalls being called to duty that fateful morning and navigating through chaos to aid in the aftermath. He was charged with policing vehicle and pedestrian traffic on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge, sifting through debris for personal items and aiding in heartbreaking search and recovery efforts at Ground Zero and Staten Island.

“Buildings that once were there for entertainment, enjoyment and employment were now just tons and tons of rubble, smoke emitting from them,” he says. “Nobody really knew what was going on and it was a very emotional time for everyone, including first responders.”

Despite heartbreaking sadness and great losses, Chief Broadway gained a specific perspective from 9/11. 

 “Every single day we wake up is a blessing and an opportunity to be a blessing to others,” he says, explaining that he moved to Florida after retiring early from the NYPD to be closer to family. Chief Broadway joined the Clermont Police Department in 2010 and was promoted two years later, becoming Lake County’s first African American police chief, a milestone he hopes inspires others. 

“I want young people to see that they can achieve their dreams, no matter the obstacles.”

Additionally, Chief Broadway says he’s proud of the exemplary work of the men and women of the Clermont Police Department. He says their commitment, along with data tracking and analysis, and use of technology, have made it very uncomfortable for those who choose to commit crimes in town.

He has also implemented several initiatives locally to strengthen community relations and enhance public safety. That includes launching a mobile crisis unit program that pairs a clinician with an officer experienced in crisis intervention to support those facing mental health issues and homelessness. This program, one of the first in Florida that connects individuals with necessary resources, showcases Chief Broadway’s forward-thinking approach to law enforcement. 

Statewide, he also emphasizes officer wellness. As president of the Florida Chiefs Association, Chief Broadway introduced the Post Critical Incident Seminar, a two-and-a-half-day program aiding officers who have experienced trauma. 

“A healthy officer makes a better officer,” he explains. “Healthy officers will serve and help cultivate healthy communities, if we can continue to make sure that they are taken care of physically, mentally and spiritually.”

Chief Broadway’s tenure is characterized by a philosophy of unity between police and community. He advocates for collaboration to achieve safer neighborhoods, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Community support is a testament to his effective leadership.

“We have made strides in building trust in our community in acting as that force multiplier, where we feel like the community is working with the law enforcement,” Chief Broadway says. “I do feel that I have been able to utilize this profession to help, inspire and encourage others; be a part of something bigger and greater than I am; part of a team, an agency that is changing and enhancing lives with programs in place that help people.”

Married with four daughters and a granddaughter, Chief Broadway finds joy in family, church, sports, physical fitness and coaching jiu-jitsu (He holds a black belt). His personal and professional life is guided by a singular principle and his “why” for the past 28 years since joining law enforcement has never wavered: to make a difference.

He clearly has.

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About the Author: Roxanne Brown

Originally from Nogales, Arizona, Roxanne worked in the customer service industry while writing independently for years. After moving to Florida in 1999, Roxanne eventually switched her career path to focus more on writing and went on to become an award-winning reporter for The Daily Commercial/South Lake Press newspapers for 16 years prior to coming on board with Akers Media as a staff writer in July 2020 – her dream job come true.

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