Robert Kavin Broome, a Fort Mill reserve officer dubbed the “Lollipop Cop” and known for his unyielding dedication, died Good Friday, April 10.
A memorial service will be held 4 p.m. Tuesday at Good Samaritan United Methodist Church in Lake Wylie.
The Fort Mill man served as a local reserve officer for six years. He was 64.
“He always wanted to be a police officer,” James Broome said of his father, who served as a military policeman during a stint with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. “He had a very big heart and wanted to help everybody.”
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And he was a dedicated reserve officer with the Fort Mill Police Department, Martha Young Broome said of her husband of nearly 36 years.
“He absolutely adored being with people,” she said. “He was known as the ‘Lollipop Cop.’ Whenever he saw a child, he would stop and give him a lollipop.”
Early on, Broome worked as a photographer with Springs Industries in Fort Mill. But a brain tumor prompted a career change, paving the way for him to become reserve officer, a commissioned position with the same power to make arrests that full-time officers have.
“Kavin was never looked at as a reserve officer,” Fort Mill Police Department Capt. Bryan Zachary said. “He was looked at as an officer because of his dedication. He’ll be very greatly missed.”
Reserve officers are not paid, but complete the same training as regular full-time police officers and must maintain ongoing training while working 20 hours monthly.
“My dad worked over 1,000 hours most years,” James Broome said.
That strong work ethic commanded respect, Detective Sgt. Reed Blackwell said.
“He was always one that you could depend on,” Blackwell said. “If you called him to work on a parade or for extra manpower, he’d be the first one to step up and volunteer.”
And he had a way with his peers.
“He always had a humorous story or joke to tell,” Zachary said. “His demeanor always left us feeling better. He had a way of lightening the mood.”
For Broome, serving as a reserve officer was a teaching tool, Martha Broome said.
“It was almost like he was trying to prove that he didn’t have to stop working [because of the tumor],” she said. “He wanted to prove that anyone could go forward when they have an adversity in life.”
A second tumor struck in 2001, forcing Broome to stop working.
“He had to,” Allison Shell said of her father. “He lost the use of his legs.”
Less than six months later, a third tumor struck, subsequently making Broome bedridden. Still, his conversation was all police.
“He talked about it until his dying day,” Martha Broome said. “He called the police department every single day to talk to his friends and the dispatchers to see what was going on. He would always say, ‘Be careful going out there.’”
And the sage advice was welcome, Blackwell said.
“He loved to be a part of the department,” he said. “We were like his second family.”