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An avid outdoorsman since he was old enough to hold a fishing rod, Brent Wheat has turned his love of the outdoors into a career as writer, photographer, instructor and speaker about the wilds of Indiana. He also is an active law enforcement and gun writer, currently appearing as a monthly columnist and Law Enforcement Consultant for SWAT Magazine and weekly commentator on the upcoming SWAT Magazine TV show on The Outdoor Channel.
His list of writing and photography credits is extensive, ranging from photos and articles appearing in many central Indiana newspapers to pieces that have appeared in Trailer Boats and Turkey Hunting magazine. In 2004, he won the Best Division I Sports Columnist award from the Hoosier State Press Association and was named Conservation Communicator of the Year by the Indiana Wildlife Federation.
Brent recently put his “Out in the Open” outdoors column on indefinite hiatus after 18 years of weekly appearances in various central Indiana newspapers.
Born in Marion, Indiana, Brent is a resident of Lebanon, Indiana and when he is not writing, shooting photos, spending time outdoors or building things that explode, Brent likes to hike and spend time performing with various musical groups (he plays drums, guitar, harmonica, banjo and the lottery) .
Brent attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, majoring in Forestry and Horticulture. Unfortunately, hunting, fishing and outdoor adventures in north-central Indiana proved more irresistible than study so college ended after three and-a-half years, much to the relief of Brent’s academic adviser.
For the last 24 years, Brent has worked in law enforcement, first with the Boone County Sheriff’s department and currently with the Lebanon Police Department where he is a Lieutenant in the patrol division and also serves as the department spokesman and special events coordinator. During his law enforcement career, Brent has worked as a reserve officer, jail officer, dispatcher, detective, evidence technician, narcotics canine handler and was a founding member of the bicycle patrol, dive team and Special Response (SWAT) Team. He also helps train public safety officers during occasional stints as visiting instructor at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, assistant instructor for LifeGuard Systems, Inc and other various training groups. Brent has served as lecturer for the Indiana Cooperative Extension Service Venison Workshop and with the Media Services Team and Public Information Officers Committee of the 2001 World Police & Fire Games. He is also assistant instructor for the Boone County Sheriff’s Department Introduction to Defensive Pistol class.
Before entering the law enforcement field, Brent was consistently unable to hold a steady job and his other occupations have included stints as assistant landscape nursery manager, groundskeeper for large private estate, dispatcher for a security company, canoe outfitter and owner of a small landscaping business. His unpaid avocations have been many, including a four-year tour of duty as a college radio station disk jockey.
Being somewhat hyperactive, Brent has also been active as a Cub Scout leader, past-president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #110, assistant SRT team leader, Pension Secretary of Lebanon Police Department and has held membership in National Rifle Federation, American Rivers, Indiana Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Board of Directors of the Hoosier Outdoor Writers, Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers, Employer Support Committee of the Indiana National Guard and Hoosier Canoe Club. Brent has also appeared in Outstanding Young Men of America 1992 and received a unit commendation with the Special Response Team in 1998.
Brent’s latest endeavors include WildIndiana.com, an upcoming weekly segment on SWAT Magazine TV airing on The Outdoor Channel in January 2010 and he is currently serving as District 3 Councilman on the Lebanon City Council.