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‘True heroes’ honored, remembered at York County police service

The 20th Annual York County Police Honor and Memorial Service was held Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Rock Hill. Members of the Rock Hill Police Department Honor Guard Detective Brad Sims, left, and Investigator Danny Burkhart place a wreath in memory of slain officers during the service.
The 20th Annual York County Police Honor and Memorial Service was held Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Rock Hill. Members of the Rock Hill Police Department Honor Guard Detective Brad Sims, left, and Investigator Danny Burkhart place a wreath in memory of slain officers during the service. aburriss@heraldonline.com

Attending the Police Honor and Memorial Service each May has become a routine for Myra McCants during the last 20 years. The traffic stop one Friday night in September 1992 that prompted her attendance, though, was anything but routine.

McCants’ son, York County Sheriff’s deputy Brent McCants, was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Dave Lyle Boulevard the night of Sept. 25, 1992. He was one of nine area law enforcement officers remembered Wednesday at First Baptist Church during the 20th annual Police Honor and Memorial Service.

The service is held each May during National Police Week, the main festivities of which are held in Washington, D.C. Rock Hill Police Capt. Mark Bollinger said several Rock Hill Police chaplains wanted to have a memorial locally and put together the first service, which saw about 30 in attendance.

Tuesday’s event saw about 200 attendees, including representatives from a dozen local and state law enforcement agencies. The service included a memorial prayer, 21 gun salute and special music performed by two members of the Rock Hill Police Department.

The Rock Hill Police Honor Guard placed the wreath at the front of the room during the 20th Annual Police Honor and Memorial Service Wednesday at First Baptist Church. Also, the South Carolina Dept. of Public Safety stands at attention during "Ama

Keynote speaker the Rev. David Chadwick, of Forest Hill Church in Concord, said police work is a thankless job. He called law enforcement the “salt” of their communities.

“Salt acts best when it’s invisible, but nevertheless gives flavor to the meat or food in which it’s placed,” he said. “... You’re the true heroes of our world. Not the LeBron Jameses or Cam Newtons or other athletes or entertainers we applaud and give uproariously large salaries to. You’re the ones behind the scenes making everything work.”

Myra McCants said it’s heartbreaking to see not only the lack of gratitude shown toward officers, but stories around the country of violence toward police.

“It’s a shame and a disgrace,” she said. “You put on that uniform, and who’s there to say ‘good job’? I don’t know what’s gonna happen to this world. I don’t.”

She knew when her son became an officer that law enforcement was a dangerous field.

“But my daddy was a policeman,” she said. “You think, ‘What? No, not Brent!’ And they said ‘routine call.’ There’s no such thing.”

McCants said events like Wednesday’s service are helpful not only in remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but the survivors they left behind.

“You never get over it,” she said. “You have to do these things, and you remember it. But losing your child – you don’t get over that.”

Excerpt from the song performed by Capt. Rod Stinson and Tan Barber of Rock Hill Police Department Wednesday during the 20th Annual Police Honor and Memorial Service. (video by Andy Burriss)

Teddy Kulmala •  803-329-4082

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