COLUMBIA — In front of a busy crowd of law enforcement, their families and well-wishers, one ring of a bright, brass handbell was greeted with a solemn silence Wednesday afternoon. The bell rang to honor fallen comrades, some who had passed on in retirement, but in particular one woman who lost her life in the line of duty.


Aiken Public Safety's Master Cpl. Sandra E. “Sandy” Rogers was inducted into the S.C. Law Enforcement Hall of Fame Wednesday and was honored at the annual Law Enforcement Memorial.


The Aiken police officer who was killed last year responding to a suspicious vehicle call, has been inducted into the state's ring of honor, where her plaque hangs directly below that of E. Scott “Scotty” Richardson, another Aiken officer killed in the line of duty.


“It's a day of honoring all law enforcement, and especially Sandy. She died doing what she loved doing, serving her community – and her honor continues today,” said Chief Charles Barranco of Aiken Public Safety. “Sandy was sort of a mother hen to us, making sure we are taking care of the community and each other.”


The annual Law Enforcement Memorial took place at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy and included speakers, singing and prayers, and ended with an honoring of the colors.


“For them to put everything on the line for the love of his or her fellow American, that speaks volumes,” said Leroy Smith, director of the S.C. Department of Public Safety.


Rogers, a 27-year veteran with the Aiken Department of Public Safety, was the officer responding to the suspicious vehicle call. She radioed in that she was approaching a blue vehicle stopped in Eustis Park. It was her final transmission.


When Rogers didn't respond about a minute later, officers went to the scene where she was found with a gunshot wound. She was transported to an area hospital where she died of her wounds.


“It was really moving … just a sweet way to honor my sister for years to come,” said Virginia Johnson, sister of Sandy Rogers.