South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – Tuesday evening, South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert recognized Reserve Police Captain Mark Fernell upon his retirement from the force. Fernell was presented with a plaque that included the badge he wore when he worked and his duty weapon, a Glock semi-automatic pistol. “This is the least we can do,” Shumpert said. “Captain Fernell has made this town safer over the past 10 years through his selfless service to our community.”
Captain Fernell was classified as a reserve officer but had full arrest powers. Although he had to be trained just as an officer that works for the department full-time would be, he volunteered all his time while working for the town. Chief Shumpert said during the presentation that Fernell had literally saved the department tens of thousands of dollars over the years.
According to standards, reserve police officers must work a minimum number of hours patrolling or training in order to keep their SC Police Certification. Some changes in Fernell’s life have made it difficult to keep up with those hours. He said during the short ceremony during Tuesday’s council meeting, “When I started this, I never thought I would be here 10 years later. Even though I don’t live in South Congaree, it’s my town and I love it.”
The Reserve Police Officer Program is still alive in South Congaree. Just last month, Chief Shumpert gave the oath of office to John “Wink” Wilson, an experienced officer himself. He is working right now in a reserve capacity and was at the meeting when Fernell’s retirement was announced.