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CofC DPS mourns the loss of another SC Law Enforcement Officer

The College of Charleston Department of Public Safety stands with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department as they mourn the loss of one of their own.

At approximately 3:20 PM on June 21, 2022, Deputy Sheriff Austin Derek Aldridge of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department was responding to a domestic violence call, when the suspect ambushed responding officers and opened fire, striking and ultimately killing Deputy Aldridge.

Deputy Aldridge served with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department for three years. He is survived by his wife.

Keep Deputy Aldridge’s friends, family, and department in your thoughts as they all process these difficult times. As law enforcement officers, we all know the risks when donning the uniform and duty belt, but nothing lessens the pain from the loss of one of our ranks.

Deputy Aldridge was 25 years old. His death marks the second SC line of duty law enforcement death in 2022. Deputy Aldridge’s end of watch was 21 June, 2022.

Rest easy, brother… we have the watch now.

Welcome to new DPS Officers

Deputy Chief Broughton and Chief Searson are pictured with three of our new Public Safety Officers, Kirchenbauer, Smith, and Bravo, who graduated on June 10th from the SC Criminal Justice Academy.  Chief Searson served as the Guest Speaker for Basic Law Enforcement Class 761.  These officers have successfully completed 20 weeks of Training to this point.  They now begin the next phase which is Field Training.  Congratulations to these three on this important accomplishment.

 

CofC DPS mourns the loss of a SC Law Enforcement Officer

The College of Charleston Department of Public Safety stands with the Cayce Police Department as they mourn the loss of one of their own.

At approximately 2:48 AM on April 24, 2022, Officer Roy Andrew “Drew” Barr of the Cayce Police Department was responding to a domestic violence call, when the suspect opened fire on responding officers, striking and ultimately killing Officer Barr. The suspect later took his own life at the scene.

Officer Barr joined the Cayce Police Department in 2016 as a Public Safety Officer, when the department was a joint Department of Public Safety. Officer Barr was also a K-9 officer, a volunteer firefighter Captain with the city of Monetta, and a former volunteer EMT with Lexington County EMS. His mission was truly one of serving the public trust.

Keep Drew Barr’s friends, family, and department in your thoughts as they all process these difficult times. As law enforcement officers, we all know the risks when donning the uniform and duty belt, but nothing lessens the pain from the loss of one of our ranks.

Officer Barr was 27 years old. His death marks the first SC line of duty law enforcement death in 2022. Officer Barr’s end of watch was 24 April, 2022.

Rest easy, brother… we have the watch now.

 

CofC DPS stands with CPD Chief Reynolds

Today, DC Broughton and Chief Searson, along with several others, stood in support of CPD Chief Luther Reynolds as he enters his 2nd round of chemotherapy in his battle with cancer. In preparation for this, the Chief shaved his head, and afterwards, shared his feelings for others fighting cancer and the impacts this disease has on all affected, particularly during the holiday season. We are thankful to be included in his support group, and offer prayers not only for Chief Reyynolds, but all who battle such a debilitating illness.

 

CofC DPS participates in Cops on the Coop and The Law Enforcement Torch Run

In support of The Special Olympics, today members of the College of Charleston’s Department of Public Safety participated in “Cops on the Coop” hosted by Chick Fil A.  Each year thousands of law enforcement officers nationwide participate in The Law Enforcement Torch Run raising awareness for Special Olympic Athletes.  This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Many thanks to those who stopped and contributed to this worthy cause.

 

Happy Retirement, Gary Kirkendall!

From Chief of Police, Chip Searson:

 

Today we say farewell and thank you to yet another Public Safety OG, Gary Kirkendall.  Gary started here in July of 2013 and has faithfully served for many years.  We certainly will miss him sitting in the Training Room eating a plate of carrots while imagining those were really his meal of choice, chicken wings.  Life now takes him to the BIG state of Texas, where he follows his long-time partner in crime, Kim Reetz.  Good luck, safe travels, and many blessings to you and your wife Gary.  We will certainly miss you and appreciate all your faithful years of service to the College of Charleston.  Please stay in touch with us!

 

Then I heard the voice of the Lord say, who shall I send? Who will go for us?  And, Gary Kirkendall said, I am here Lord, send me!

 

Happy Retirement Gary!

Public Safety bids farewell to a dear friend

Just a few minutes ago, the Department of Public Safety bid a bitter farewell to Kim Reetz. She’s been a member of the department for over eight years and has become a fixture of our daily lives here. Many of us spend as much time at our jobs as we do at home, and Kim has always made the Department of Public Safety a warm, welcoming, and friendly place for everyone here.

Pictured in the photo below, Deputy Chief Broughton and Detective Gillard attempt to persuade Kim not to leave as she makes her final departure.

Always, Kim, we wish you nothing but the best and lots of love. Fair winds and following seas. You will be missed!

From Chief Chip Searson:

“Sadly, we said goodbye a few minutes ago to our Kimberly Reetz as she departed for the last time.  We tried everything we could to keep her from leaving. “Kimmerly”, we wish you safe travels and many touchdowns in Texas.  You are loved here and will be truly missed.”

CofC observes Independence Day

Today, the College of Charleston observes Independence Day. Like the College, many businesses are closed today, including government offices. As we observe the holiday on this long weekend, be mindful of safety… yours and others’. And keep in mind those who have suffered recent, tragic losses elsewhere in the country. Be safe, and happy holiday!