It was a somber occasion, but one meant to pay the utmost respect to a fallen colleague.
Beside The Badge organized a send off Sunday morning, for those officers from the Aiken Department of Public Safety who were members of ADPS Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers' Shift-B, and will be attending National Law Enforcement Week 2013 in the nation's Capital.
Friends and family gathered at ADPS Station No. 2 on Silver Bluff Road to see the officers off, wish them well, thank them for their service and to pay their respects and honor the memory of an officer who touched the lives of many.
Rogers gave her life in the line of duty, while responding to a suspicious vehicle call on Jan. 28, 2012, and will be honored with other officers, who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their community.
“It's very sad, but at the same time, we're showing respect, not just for Sandy, but for all of the officers that died last year,” said Lt. Ted Umsted, ADPS. “If she were here, she would be the first person on the bus. She was with the ADPS for 28 years, and she worked with me for 20 of those. She was just a wonderful person. Sandy had a smiling face every morning. I miss her horribly.”
A recent inductee into the South Carolina Law Enforcement Hall of Fame, Rogers impact and influence in the department continues to resonate with those who knew her.
“It's been over a year since we've lost Sandy,” Allison Kotwoski Comer, Beside The Badge, the organization that helped raise the money to pay for the officers trip to Washington, D.C. “But I think our community, especially our public safety officers, are looking forward to this opportunity to go to D.C., and give her the honor she deserves as the first female officer killed in the line of duty in the State of South Carolina. She's always going to be in the history books. I know these officers worked with her side-by-side. These are her shift mates, the same guys that were in the trenches with her day-in and day-out, throughout the city of Aiken.”
The veteran officer served as a mentor to many of her colleagues, and her presence continues to be felt throughout the entire department. A total of 14 members of Rogers' shift, the Color Guard and Command Staff are making the sojourn to participate in National Law Enforcement Week 2013, said Umsted.
“The entire shift she worked with is here,” said Umsted. “We'll be attending a memorial service on Monday, a service at the Capital on Wednesday, and return to Aiken on Thursday.”
Beside The Badge will be providing dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday night and breakfast on Thursday morning for the Aiken Department of Public Safety officers not attending Police Week 2013 in Washington, D.C.