Rock Hill police welcome community during open house

The Rock Hill Police Department hosted its annual open house Saturday afternoon at the Rock Hill Law Center on East Black Street, welcoming the community to learn about its officers, history and specialized units.

“We host the open house so the public can get to see the inside workings of the police department, so they get a better sense of how prepared we are for any type of emergency,” said Mark Bollinger, spokesman for the Rock Hill Police Department.

The open house’s location alternates every year between the Rock Hill Law Center and the City Of Rock Hill Operations Center on Anderson Road.

Officers from specialty units such as the K-9 unit, the Special Weapons and Tactics unit, and the bomb squad demonstrated equipment, patrol cars and the latest technology. Free food and tours of the police department were also available.

“We wanted our kids to see how the police worked,” said Cindy Lockman, 36. Her son, Toby, 9, said that the bomb robot and the Pointman tactical robots display were “awesome.”

“It’s a good informative thing to have people learn about what the police do,” said Clarence Anderson, 70.

John Aiton, school resource officer for South Pointe High School, has gathered artifacts from the department’s history dating to its beginnings in 1890. Through his research and help from retirees and their families, a collection of photographs, badges, and the arrest book from 1920 were displayed in the department’s training center.

A recruiter was on site for people interested in joining the police department. People have been recruited every year at the open house, Bollinger said.

Eric Olson, 31, originally from Miami, Fla., has been with Rock Hill police for three years. He moved to Rock Hill for the opportunity to be a police officer.

“I first came out here for the interview and fell in love with the town,” Olson said. “I have no intention of going back, either. Best decision of my life was to move here.”