Darlington Police add artistic memorial, spearhead community projects
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, email@example.com
In a hallway of the Darlington Police Department, one previously plain cinderblock wall now bears the image of a heavenly observer – the Archangel Michael, watching over the names of DPD officers who have passed away, either in retirement or while still serving. Names of these late officers, like Cox and Cook, Dudley and Privette, Williams and Thomas, will be drawn beside the fierce angel in calligraphy over the summer.
DPD Chief Danny Watson says the mural serves two purposes: to honor those who served our city, and to remind young officers that previous generations of law enforcers patrolled these streets just as they do now, and made similar sacrifices to fulfill their duties.
“I got the idea when (retired DPD officer) Redmond Kelly passed away earlier this year. You have these officers who work here 25 years, sometimes their entire working lives in law enforcement. They serve honorably, they retire and move on to something else… or a lot of the chiefs die in office. But the new officers who come here, they don’t know who came before them. There is no organizational memory for that, unless you talk to an older officer,” says Watson. “I just think it’s important for us to remember those who’ve traveled the same path we are traveling.”
Artist Jes Guineri painted the Archangel Michael and the “Hall of Honor” banner above an adjacent doorway. Chief Watson says the list of names of late DPD officers will be researched and the mural will be completed over the next few months.
In addition to honoring those public servants with a lasting memorial, Watson says his department is working to further the DPD’s community involvement through two new programs.
The Box Fan Challenge is seeking to secure 300 donated fans to help citizens keep cool over the summer. Thanks to donations from local businesses and citizens, 88 fans have been given as of June 20, and the Darlington Walmart has promised to match public donations, bringing the pledged total of fans very near Watson’s goal.
Also, the Saints of Darlington program (teaming DPD with the Darlington Fire Department) is working to help build wheelchair ramps and handrails for elderly and disabled residents. Watson extended a special thanks to Canfor Southern Pine for their partnership, and a much-needed donation of lumber to help with these building projects.
To learn more about how you can help with either of these community service projects, visit the DPD on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DarlingtonPDSC or call them at 843-398-4026