Lanterns floated into the evening sky outside of the Dorchester County Law Enforcement Complex in Summerville. The lantern-lift dotted the skyline in memory and capped off an event aimed at making sure those fallen are not forgotten and to remind the public about the life-and-death situations those in law enforcement can face.
The May 17 event, complete with the presentation of colors, was organized by the South Carolina Police Wives Association, for the 163 officers killed in the line of duty last year. Past fallen officers from the Lowcountry were also honored. Each attendee was given a lantern to light as the names of those killed were read aloud.
Speakers included former Deputy Lt. Shawn Gibbons from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office and Cpl. Kimber Gist from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office. Both of them shared their experiences after being seriously wounded in the line of duty.
Kimber Gist returned to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office in January of 2017 after being shot five times.
“One of them [rounds] hit my radio and disabled me from calling out to talk to people so basically I was by myself for a short period of time,” Gist said. “Whenever I hear about an officer killed in the line of duty it obviously takes me back to my incident…it reminds me this can happen and at least we have the community support.”
Gist was investigating a suspicious vehicle on Feb. 26, 2016 when a female subject in the car began firing.
“Every now and then your hair will still stand up on the back of your neck, sometimes I will get into doing a job or something and it’s like wow; it’s like de-ja-vu,” Gist said.
The SC Police Wives Association has a chapter in Dorchester County and hopes to expand the event in the years to come.
“It’s a chance for us to honor not only those but the ones from the past too and maybe educate the community and citizens on why we’re here and why it’s so important,” said Sgt. Rick Carson, the PIO for the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office.
The event was in conjunction with National Police Week which started on May 12.