Welcome to 2019!  I pray that each of you and your families have a safe and rewarding year.   

There is no doubt that our communities, state, and country need honorable men and women to protect our very way of life.  Each day, I see more and more that makes me recognize and appreciate each of you who have chosen to be the guardians of communities and citizens across South Carolina.  In my view, there is no more sacred calling than to stand between good and evil and protect those who are most vulnerable. 

The profession we have all chosen is certainly one that requires great sacrifice and devotion.  Already this year, there have been ten law enforcement officers across the United States who lost their lives in the line of duty.  In addition to these brave and courageous men and women, others have been wounded while carrying out their duties.  Just this week in Houston, four officers where wounded while executing a search warrant at a known drug house.  Even with these tragedies that have struck close to home in recent years, there are still thousands of law enforcement officers who rise every day and report for duty knowing the dangers.  In my view, this is what clearly separates our profession from others and speaks volumes about your commitment, dedication, and courage. 

However, do not be misled that we are not facing new, significant challenges as we attempt to carry out our mission.  In addition to current issues created by repeat violent offenders, drug epidemics, mental health crises, and unfunded mandates pertaining to technology, training, and new staff positions, we are also facing critical issues involving recruitment, retention, and training.  Last year, the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy graduated less officers than the total number that left agencies across the state.  This shortage is impacting agencies, large and small, and every community.  Likewise, the scope of necessary training continues to grow.  Therefore, it is imperative that each of us serve as recruiters, role models, trainers, and ambassadors for our agencies to attract and retain quality officers to reverse this worrisome trend. 

Also, 2019 will bring additional challenges relating to officer health and wellness. It is critical that our organization, and each individual member, pledges to be vigilant and engaged to assist our brothers and sisters during and after times of crisis.  We can no longer be bystanders when we see, hear, or become aware of concerns or issues impacting our colleagues.  We must display the same type of courage to help those hurting because of both internal and external stressors as we do when we run toward gunfire while others are running away.  Otherwise, we will see increasing negative impacts at the personal and professional level as our profession continues to become  more challenging and scrutinized. 

As we work collectively during 2019 to find solutions to these competing dilemmas, let  us commit making this a year that proactively addresses our challenges, highlights our accomplishments, recognizes the outstanding contributions made by our members, and unites us to speak as one voice.   

Thank you for being a Guardian and member of law enforcement - a most noble and honorable  profession. 


With Admiration, 

Chief Gregory Mullen 

Clemson University Police Department

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