South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – In the last few months, two South Congaree police officers have resigned, leaving the department a few men short. Chief Josh Shumpert says that he has already hired one officer to fill a position who will be sworn in next week. He is evaluating the other position to see how it effects the department and its operation.
Investigator John Silcox and Corporal Patrick Clemmons both left, but for very different reasons. Both also said that their time in South Congaree proved meaningful and although they had good reason to leave, they would miss the people of the town and the other members of the small force they worked with.
Silcox said in a phone interview Tuesday that his leaving was predicated upon a great opportunity just falling into his lap. He has been hired by the police force that protects the students, faculty, and campus of Winthrop University in the Rock Hill area of South Carolina. Silcox said that he will receive a raise in pay but for the most part, he and his wife just loved the area and the atmosphere on campus. He also said there could be opportunities for professional development working at the university that will enhance his career in the future. The drive from his current home is just about an hour, but he said that his family will probably move into that area eventually. “Working with Chief Shumpert in South Congaree was great,” Silcox said. “They worked hard to keep us equipped with everything we needed to do our jobs efficiently and with safety in mind. I’ll certainly miss my fellow officers and will always consider my time in South Congaree a positive step in my career.” Silcox said that until he moves his household, he hopes to be able to participate in ride-alongs with the South Congaree officers and has committed to finishing a grant for SCPD he’d already begun before deciding to leave.
Corporal Patrick Clemmons had a very different reason for making a career change at this point in his life. He’s laying the groundwork for his retirement in a few years. Clemmons said that he and his wife own a home on Edisto Beach and that’s where they had always planned to live after retirement. When a job came open with the police department that covers that area, it was a perfect opportunity to begin getting ready for those last patrols. “I’m just a few years away from having my years in,” Clemmons said recently. “Being with a force at Edisto will allow me to make friends there and build relationships that will be important when I hang it up,” he continued. He went on to say he thought that Chief Josh Shumpert was a wonderful supervisor and he loved the people in South Congaree and on the small force. “As much as I enjoyed it here, it just didn’t make sense to have that nice beach house sitting empty when we could really start enjoying it more now.” As for what he planned to do after retirement Clemmons said, “I really haven’t though that far ahead yet. I may sit and do absolutely nothing for a while. If I get tired of that, then I’ll give it some thought.”
Chief Shumpert said he had made some slight changes in the department’s schedule to provide officers during the hours that calls peak. Once he gets his new hire on the road, his biggest concern will be when an officer is out sick or on leave. He is formulating a plan with his staff to handle those periods and said it will not be a problem until he decides when he will hire to fill that last slot.