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Showing our appreciation to those who keep us safe

Posted: January 31, 2012 11:06 a.m.
Updated: February 1, 2012 5:00 a.m.

 Several recent incidents in the Palmetto State have underscored the dangers facing the men and women of law enforcement: 

-- Scotty Richardson, a public safety officer in Aiken ,was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop in late December. Another officer, Travis Griffin, was also shot but survived.

-- Another Aiken police officer, Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers, was shot and killed Saturday while investigating a suspicious vehicle in a park.

-- Also in December, a Richland County K9 officer was killed in the line of duty. The dog, Fargo, was chasing a robbery suspect in Columbia when the suspect shot him.

-- On Jan. 14, a police officer in North Charleston was shot when he tried to stop a man matching the description of an armed robbery suspect. At the time of this writing, the officer, David Winslette, was recovering at the Medical University of South Carolina.

-- And last July, a Laurens County deputy was killed while conducting a homicide investigation. In this case, Deputy Roger Rice was fatally shot by the suspect after being called to assist in an investigation in nearby Fountain Inn, according to news reports.

These are just a few of the notable incidents in recent months in which the lives of police or other first-responders have been placed in jeopardy. They serve as a solemn reminder of the nature of these jobs.

 It’s an unfortunate fact that those who put their lives in the line for our protection are too often taken for granted. They hit the streets, often for little pay, to make life safer for the public they serve. They operate in an environment where even the most routine call can turn tragic. Many devote their lives to the profession, despite risks the sacrifice, and -- for many -- a lack of appreciation. 

 Sometimes, they protect even those who would do them harm.

 It’s worth noting that the two officers I mentioned who survived did so likely thanks to the protection of a bulletproof vest. It’s also worth mentioning that South Carolina is home to two wonderful nonprofit organizations that aim to ensure that law enforcement officers are equipped with life-saving body armor. InVest USA helps purchase bulletproof vests for police, deputies and Highway Patrol officers. (More information can be found on the Internet at It can be reached by phone at (877) 775-8378, or by U.S. Postal Service at P.O. Box 23489 Columbia SC 29224-3489.)

And Heroes Vest Fund is a nonprofit organization that helps equip K9 officers with vests. (Here’s its contact information:; P.O. Box 1851, Lexington, SC 29071.)

Supporting these organizations is a great way to show our support for -- and help protect -- those who protect us.

And if you know someone who serves their community as a law enforcement officer, let them know you appreciate them. 


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