Tom Sloan; husband, dad, sergeant and natural in front of the camera. This Round Rock Police Department officer is traffic-obsessed and here to tell you how to stay safe. We spoke to Sloan about his work, his personal life, and his possible future career in acting (we can only hope, right?)
DD: Who is Tom Sloan? What is your position at the police department?
TS: I’m a sergeant at RRPD assigned to the Traffic Unit. I only recently transferred to the unit after having spent the last approximate 10 years on patrol, where I was a patrol officer, field training officer, member of the RRPD SWAT team and then patrol sergeant. While I have worked many different areas of policing during my career, I have always been the most interested in traffic and investigating collisions.
My interest in traffic-related policing derives from developing ways to make the roadways safe for all to enjoy. I want to work for our citizens to make it so they can come and go on the roadways safely without getting into collisions. That’s why I was very excited to be given the opportunity from my leadership to move over to the Traffic Unit.
My profession is policing, but my number one job is being the best husband to my wife, Jen, and father to my three children, Quentin, Heidi and Ryker. I take these positions very seriously.
DD: How did Tom’s Traffic Tips come about? Who’s idea was it?
TS: I knew when I was given the chance to work in the Traffic Unit that I had a pretty big responsibility. My Traffic Unit team members work very hard, rain or shine, to reduce vehicle crashes and keep our roadways safe. I wanted to help out my team the best I could. So, I brainstormed ideas on how we could reach more people and educate them on safe driving. From the support of my command, my team and an outstanding collaborative effort from our Public Information Specialist Angelique Myers and multimedia specialist John Estrada, Tom’s Traffic Tips was created.
DD: Who comes up with the tips? How are they decided?
TS: The first episode was on not blocking an intersection. There were several intersections in the city getting blocked by vehicles due to traffic congestion. It was becoming a problem for drivers on intersecting roadways, and some were getting into crashes. Some voiced their desire for us to develop ways to prevent it. I thought this would be just the thing for the show.
The show can reach thousands at once, and it’s lighthearted. Viewers can get a laugh and learn a traffic tip at the same time. The first show was a success, so we decided we would develop shows on a combination basis of: 1) current citizen traffic concerns 2) traffic concerns our officers noticed when working collisions. A lot of data is collected on where the majority of crashes take place and what the contributing factors are that cause them. It’s scientific and in-depth.
DD: Was the traffic tips segment made specifically for you, or was it that you volunteered?TS: I volunteered to be the goofy cop on camera. I’ve never taken myself very seriously and have always felt comfortable speaking in front of others. I guess the same can be said about speaking on camera, now.
DD: What do you do outside your work at RRPD? Do we see an acting career in your future?
TS: I spend a lot of time with my family. Jen is a nurse and works long hours. Free time is spent together going places and being outdoors. I grew up on a cattle ranch and am still heavily involved in that work. So I drag my little cowboys out to the ranch to work cows pretty often. It’s good for them to take on the responsibility of caring for something at a young age. Acting? Hey, I’d gladly accept a role if a producer is looking for a thirty-something with no experience.
DD: What are your top three safety tips you can give residents?
TS: The most common type of crash is the rear-end style collision. Most of these are caused by a distraction in the vehicle, and it’s usually from texting. Please don’t text and drive. Go the speed limit, especially in a residential neighborhood. The faster you drive, the longer it takes you to stop for an obstruction in the roadway. Kids are at play in neighborhoods. Wear your seatbelts. They save lives.
DD: Okay...what is up with the floating head in the stopping at stop signs video? We loved it and couldn’t stop laughing.
Hahaha! That was the idea of the awesome editor/videographer John Estrada. We wanted an attention grabber! We asked ourselves how we can up the fun and get something catchy. Floating Head!
Send your traffic concerns and questions to RRPD at email@example.com. Follow @roundrockpolicedepartment and @roundrockpolice on Twitter and takeInstagram. Watch Traffic Tom’s videos on the RRPD Facebook.
Check out Traffic Tom’s latest video below: