Sharp, 35, said growing up as a young boy in the Rome, Ga., area he always knew he wanted to be a police officer, or a pilot.
“I wanted to fly planes and be a police officer,” he said.
“I watched ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and liked the police cars, the uniforms. And I’ve always wanted to help people,” he said. “I feel like this [being an officer] is my calling in my life and luckily I’ve ended up being able to do this.”
Sharp joined the APD in 2007 and worked as a beat officer in Zone 2, which includes northeast Atlanta. Prior to working for the police department, he worked at a youth detention facility as an administrator. His prior work experience includes retail and restaurant management.
He and Officer Patricia Powell, the other LGBT liaison, are still working out how to sort out what duties each will be doing but their main goal is to build bridges, he said.
As an openly gay man and APD officer, Sharp said he was honored when Chief George Turner and Mayor Kasim Reed asked him to take on the duty of being the department’s second LGBT liaison. This is the first time in the department’s history two GLBT liaisons are serving the APD as part of a campaign promise made by Reed when he was running for office.
“When I came here I wondered how it would be. When I was a recruit, there was a GLBT liaison that spoke to us and I wanted to be that person for someone else. This is a perfect fit for me,” he said.
Since the LGBT liaison program was implemented under former Chief Richard Pennington’s administration, three women have filled the position. Sharp said he is excited to be the first male in the post and thinks he can bring new ideas and viewpoints to the table in serving the department.
“There are a lot of openly gay males in the department and also in the community. I think I can bring something new to the table that hasn’t perhaps been brought to the table before,” he said. “We are all human beings.”
When he was 16, Sharp came out to his mother.
“It went as well as could be expected. She went through what I called the stages of grief, but after two weeks she told me that I was the same son I was two weeks before I told her and she said, ‘I love you,’ and she’s been great ever since,” he said.
When he was 19, Sharp moved to metro Atlanta and currently lives in the Buckhead area with his partner of two years.
His partner was thrilled for Sharp to take the position as GLBT liaison for the APD, he said, which actually shocked and surprised him.
“He has been absolutely the most supportive person. He is completely happy and honored for me to be part of this position,” Sharp said.
“We live, participate and care about our community and whatever I can do to further the movement I want to do,” he added.
Top photo: Officer Brian Sharp (by Bo Shell)