Brothers saluted with state award | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | November 9, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: November 8, 2017 at 10:08 am
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
It was a beautiful autumn afternoon at the beach Nov. 3 — the kind of day that makes you want to grab a beach chair and kick off your shoes. But Edisto Beach Police Chief George D. Brothers wasn’t there to enjoy it.
He was in Columbia being honored as one of the top law enforcement officers in South Carolina at the annual Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement Luncheon to receive the award as the top municipal law enforcement officer in the state.
Brothers said he had been contacted about a week before the luncheon and told about the award.
It came as a surprise. “It is about as big an award as you can get for law enforcement in South Carolina,” he said. It was especially gratifying, Brothers added, because it came from his peers.
An awards committee composed of representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Strom Thurmond Foundation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, along with a police chief and sheriff who have received the award, selected the recipients from nominations received from across the state.
“There are not a lot of ‘thank you’s’ in law enforcement and you don’t really expect it,” Brothers said. “But it is nice when it comes.”
It was also special because he was nominated for the award by his wife, Jackie.
Jackie also has a history in law enforcement, working her way up to the rank of assistant chief in the West Columbia Police Department. “She was familiar with the award because she had gotten it for her chief several years ago,” Brothers said.
Brothers made the trip to Columbia with a large group. “There were 15 of us: some of my officers, the mayor, the town administrator and my family.” Joining them at the luncheon were some of his former co-workers with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office.
“They were there for support, which is how you win the award. If I didn’t have the support of all these people through the years, I could not have done the things I did,” Brothers explained.
Town Administrator Iris Hill said, “Chief Brothers has been a catalyst for transforming the Edisto Beach Police Department into a first-class, professional law enforcement agency. This has been accomplished through his selfless devotion to professional standards of the department and everyday commitment to the citizens. He leads by example with a hands-on approach.
“The town is fortunate to have Chief Brothers lead the Edisto Beach Police Department, and we are extremely proud of his recognition as a recipient of this prestigious award,” Hill said.
“One of the best things about the award is all the people in town who have congratulated me, thanked me and told me how good a job I have done. That makes all the difference in the world, to know the people you are serving appreciate what you are doing,” Brothers added.
The Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement were established by Sen. Thurmond in 1983 to recognize law enforcement officers whose performance demonstrates the highest ideals of excellence in professional law enforcement.
The annual award is given in each of four categories: city officer, county officer, state officer and federal officer.
United States Attorney Beth Drake stated, “It is indeed an honor to recognize these four outstanding officers. They each exemplify the best in law enforcement, serving their agencies, this state and our nation with distinction, integrity, and character — making tremendous personal sacrifices to ensure just enforcement.”
Brothers graduated from T. L. Hanna High School in Anderson, then received a bachelor’s degree in human resources from Central Wesleyan College and a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina.
Brothers began his law enforcement career in 1980 as a reserve officer for Anderson. When he relocated to Charleston County, he started their reserve officer program in 1983 and served in this capacity for approximately three years.
He volunteered as a reserve officer for the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in 1987. It was there he decided to commit to law enforcement in a full-time capacity and was hired as a deputy sheriff in 1990.
Brothers graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy as the winner of the J.P. Strom Award in 1991.
He advanced through the ranks at the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department from a deputy to a DARE officer and then as a juvenile investigator. He was promoted to deputy regional commander with the rank of lieutenant. He served as captain of Headquarters Region and eventually was promoted to major.
Brothers retired from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in 2011 and moved to the private sector. He returned to law enforcement in 2013 as an officer with the Edisto Beach Police Department and was promoted to assistant chief in 2014. He was selected as chief of police in 2015.
He and Jackie have been married for 39 years. He enjoys spending time with his family, enjoying the beach and traveling.
Brothers was away from the beach again Nov. 7 — this time he was in North Myrtle Beach at the annual conference of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association, where he received a life-time achievement award.
“I’m getting these big awards, so I must be getting old,” he said with a laugh.