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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Lonnie Bradwell ... The youngest dispatcher and future "Idol" contestant

Thursday, July 2, 2009

(Photo)
Lonnie Bradwell is the youngest dispatcher at the Oregon County Sheriff's Department. If his plan of being a contestant on "American Idol" doesn't work, he plans on pursuing his career in law enforcement. Photo by Emily McIntosh
Dispatching can be a learning opportunity for those who seek higher goals. Many deputies at the Oregon County Sheriff's Department started out as dispatchers to learn what can be expected of them out on the road once they graduate from the police academy. Lonnie Bradwell is one dispatcher who seeks a different goal than many.

Bradwell, who is 19 years old, which makes him the youngest dispatcher at the sheriff's department, got his dispatching job right out of high school, he said.

Law enforcement kind of runs in Bradwell's family. His father was a dispatcher in 1989, his grandfather was a deputy at the same time.

He said his grandfather would tell him stories about chasing down criminals and those stories got Bradwell interested in law enforcement.

Bradwell said he plans on taking college courses in the fall so he can receive his associate's in criminal justice by the time he goes to the academy next year. He said he plans to still dispatch while he's taking online courses. Eventually, he plans on being a deputy -- that is if his other plan of being a contestant on "American Idol" doesn't work out. That's right, "American Idol."

Some residents might recognize Bradwell's name from high school performances and Future Farmer's of America (FFA) talent shows.

"I play piano and I do vocal. I sing," Bradwell said.

"I didn't plan on working up here (at the sheriff's department)," Bradwell said.

He said at first he wanted to go to college to major in music and become a music director. But, he needed a job and, luckily enough, a dispatching position was open. "I actually found I like this (dispatching) a lot more," Bradwell said.

"I needed a job right out of high school and this was the first place I came," Bradwell said.

But, Bradwell is still interested in a musical career. He said in August he will go to Kansas City, Mo., to try out for the reality TV show. "I'm pretty excited about it," he said. "They (people who have heard Bradwell play piano and sing) have always told me I need to try out for 'American Idol.'"

Bradwell said all of the other dispatchers and deputies have been very supportive of his decision. He said some of the deputies and dispatchers have even gotten together with an idea of rounding up judges two weeks before Bradwell goes up to Kansas City to judge him on his performance.

"They're being pretty supportive," he said. "They like to joke around, but they're very supportive."

"I can count on these guys for anything," Bradwell said. "They're great guys."

However, if things don't work out with being a contestant on "American Idol," he said he would like to pursue his law enforcement career further. "If my attempt for 'American Idol' doesn't work out, then that's what I'm going to do with my life," Bradwell said.

He said every now and then the deputies will let him ride with them out on patrol. "It's a pretty fun thing," he said. "I think I could do a great job being out on the roads patrolling."

Even if Bradwell doesn't end up on "American Idol," he still plans to have music in his life. "I can't live without music," Bradwell said.



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