Donate to Support York Officers

A domestic violence call that became a manhunt resulted in four law enforcement officers being shot overnight in York County in South Carolina, just south of Charlotte. Three of the officers shot were deputies with the York County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) and one was a York Police Officer (YPD).

Heroes In Blue, inimage1 collaboration with York County Sheriff’s Office and City of York Police Department, are raising money for the four officers who were shot to provide support with their medical bills and recovery:
Sgt. Randy Clinton, YCSO K-9
Sgt. Buddy Brown, YCSO Patrol
Master Deputy II, Michael Doty, YCSO Investigations
Sgt. Kyle Cummings, YPD Forensics Detective

Detective Mike Doty remains in critical condition after sustaining life-threatening injuries.


You can donate using this link:

Announcing: Nominations for Knight of Honor


Heroes In Blue is seeking nominations for our annual awards. Heroes In Blue is a nonprofit (501c3) organization committed to promoting positive police and community relationships through empathy and action and to providing support to the families of fallen officers. The organization was founded in memory of Gregory Alia (FAPD EOW 9/30/15) who is remembered for how he served his community with compassion and respect for all.

Nominations are open to anyone in South Carolina. We especially encourage all law enforcement agencies to make at least one nomination. We also encourage citizens to nominate a hero who has made a difference in their life.

Two awards will be presented at Heroes In Blue’s Annual “Knight of Honor Gala” held September 29, 2017 at the Forest Lake Country Club in Columbia, S.C.: the Officer Gregory Alia Award and the Citizen Hero Award. Criteria for the awards is described below.

  • Criteria for the Officer Gregory Alia Award: an outstanding officer who demonstrates a commitment to serve his/her community with respect and compassion; one who goes above the call of duty to ensure that members of the community are protected, cared for, and feel valued; one who treats all members of the community as equal and who employs their role with thoughtfulness and tact; and who through everyday interactions builds a safer community for all.
  • Criteria for the Citizen Hero Award: an outstanding member of the community or organization whose actions enhance the quality of life for members of their community; who exemplify unity and change through love; and whose actions either directly or indirectly support law enforcement’s ongoing efforts to build safer communities. Award may be given to either an outstanding individual or outstanding group.

Please check the award for which the nomination is submitted and complete the sections of the nomination form below:

_____ Officer Gregory Alia Award

_____ Citizen Hero Award

The deadline for submitting awards nominations is, Wednesday, August 16, 2017.  Nominations may be emailed to or mailed to:


CC: Heroes In Blue Awards Committe

P.O. Box 210709

Columbia, SC  29221

Please call or email Heroes In Blue if you have any questions regarding the awards process.

301-908-2635 or email




Mailing address:



Relationship to nominee:





Please describe below (and on a separate page as needed) why the nominee is deserving of the award. Please include examples as possible. Supporting documentation (newspaper clips, social media examples, pictures) welcome but not a requirement.















It’s been a busy week! Volunteer Meeting, PASOs Partnership and Charleston Forum

This past week was a busy one for Heroes In Blue. In addition to our Compassionate Acts Program meeting, we also did the following:

Heroes In Blue Volunteer Meeting June 13, 2017

On Tuesday, we held our volunteer team meeting at Conquest Brewing Company. At our very first volunteer meeting, we had around 5 people. This past week, we had well over 30. It is so exciting to see the movement grow.image1-15

At the meeting, we talked about what our vision for change looks like and described how we would get there. The mission of Heroes In Blue is to promote police and community relationships through empathy and action and to provide support to families of fallen officers. To achieve our mission, we have three primary focus areas:

  1. We use diverse media sources in creative ways to promote a humanizing, positive message about police. Our posts reach an average of 21.2K people per week through our Facebook page alone.
  2. We focus on facilitating police-driven ideas for building relationships and addressing needs in our community through our Compassionate Acts Program. For example, we are partnering with Harvest Hope Food Bank to pilot an initiative that would provide officers with non-perishable food boxes in case they come across a family need. We are also partnering with Springdale Police Department to put on a 5K that celebrates fathers and raises money for the Midlands Fatherhood Initiative.
  3. We provide immediate financial aid to families of fallen officers in South Carolina. Since we began, we have donated over $195,000 to families of fallen officers. We will continue this mission through our developing fund for fallen officers in order to provide a donation to the family within 72 hours of an officer dying while on duty.

Chief Kevin Cornett from Springdale Police Department also spoke at the meeting. His story left everyone in awe. He shared about his difficult past and also his resilience. Perhaps the most powimage3erful thing he shared was how he sees so much of his story in many who he arrests. The difference? That he had more resources. Chief’s message of empathy and compassion perfectly reflect the values of Heroes In Blue.

A need that continues to emerge is how to better support those who are homeless in our community. We have several volunteers who are passionate about this issue and look forward to coming up with creative solutions moving forward.

Meeting with PASOs

On Thursday, we had a meeting to brainstorm ideas for building better relationships with the Latino community. The meeting emerged because local law enforcement shared a need to connect with our immigrant community. One of the major reasons is that there is an under-reporting of crime in Latino neighborhoods; this is not because crime doesn’t happen, but because there is a fear that reporting crime could lead to deportation. This makes it hard to serve communities in need and provide victims with the resources they need.

Local law enforcement leadership from Richland and Lexington County Sheriff’s departments and Columbia and Lexington police departments met with leadership from PASOs.  PASOs is a state-wide organization that helps the Latino community and service providers work together for strong and healthy families.image2

At the meeting, we learned about the many things that are going well. We learned that accessibility to Spanish-speaking officers is essential. We heard that a proactive message that voices concern and support of the Latino community helps provide a meaningful foundation for trust. Availability of documentation and literature in Spanish is important as well. We learned about specific initiatives, like Lexington Police Departments partnership with PASOs where they distributed 30 car seats to families in need and Columbia Police Department’s work to engage with landlords in Latino communities.

We also heard about significant challenges. We heard that the relationships are worse in rural areas where there are fewer resources, especially transportation. There are families who are unable to get licenses but have to get to work or bring their children to school. In many areas in South Carolina, there is little to no public transportation, leaving those without licenses little choice but to drive. However, driving without a license is against the law. Law enforcement at the meeting shared how they empathize with the need to drive, but shared their concern – for example, what if they were to let someone drive away without a license and then that person was in a fatal accident?

The discussion was challenging and several in the meeting shared their sadness. However, there was also a voice of hope and appreciation that we were able to come together to have these discussions. We talked about immediate next steps, including the dissemination of guidelines for how departments can better outreach to the Latino community and we also shared a common goal of continuing to work to find strategies for overcoming broader issues.

Charleston Forum

On Friday June 16, I spoke at the Charleston Forum. The event was intended as a discussion about race relations in memory of those who lost their lives as a result of the shootings at the Emanuel AME Church two years ago.

I spoke on a panel about Criminal Justice and Policing. On the panel was former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, SC State Senator Gerald Malloy, and Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay McKesson. Throughout the panel, I voiced my message of empathy and compassion. I reflected on the impact we play on shaping the narrative – that we can serve to further create division or we can strive for unity and common ground. I urged the audience to be open to speaking to those who are different from them; I said that every life lost is a loss to us all and that the only way we can make change is if we come together in support of one another.

These words carry so much weight for me following the panel. While it is true that we have come far as a country, it is obvious that there is still so much work left to be done. Through Heroes In Blue, our Compassionate Acts Program funds police-driven initiatives to help those in need and build meaningful relationships with the community. We hope that these initiatives contribute to addressing broader issues in our community and work towards coming together over common ground.

On a personal level, I challenge each of us to open our heart up to those who are different from us. Just as I believe we need to celebrate and understand the voices of police and their families, I passionately feel we need to hear from all voices, especially those in communities of color who struggle to have theirs heard. I promise to do all I can to the best of my ability to better our community and I am thankful to have you on this journey with me.

Carolina Brotherhood Rides in Honor of the Fallen

Yesterday, June 17, 2017, the Carolina Brotherhood completed their 6-day, 625 mile journey. Cyclists rode in memory of first responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Their mission: to provide emotional and financial support for families of those who lost their lives in the line of duty in the Carolinas.

This year, Greg Alia from Forest Acres PD (EOW 9/30/2015) and Stacy Ca19238122_10207986077843383_2742573082744721028_ose of Columbia Police Department (EOW 11/7/2015) were among those honored.

Sgt. Lori Tumlin was one of the FAPD officers who helped escort the riders into Columbia, S.C. on Friday June 16th. Through Facebook, she shared her experience and love for the Brotherhood, sharing that, “I know our fallen would be so proud of you all!”

She reached out to Captain Pete Biviano of the Columbia Fire Department to ask what the ride meant to him. He shared the following:

Lori I’ve struggled all day to find the words to truly show why we do what we do. Why I ride with / act as a support member with my CBH family. It’s truly a blessing you have to feel and see to know.

This year we will be riding to honor 16 individual’s and 3 K9’s. As many friends and family know I train every year for this one week ride as my way of honoring our fallen heroes and sometimes friends. I could sign up for a race or just ride daily for fun but this group this family awards me way more and allows me to give way more than a simple weekend race. It’s a way for many of us like minded responders to spend a week helping families heal while healing a small portion of our own hearts.

This one week a year however is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true meaning and power behind the CBH. We are a family who whether we speak weekly or only on the ride are there for one another no matter the time of day or however far we may have to travel. We are a group who honors the fallen in the Carolinas and one that helps the families left behind no matter the need. We are group who can reach out to help injured first responders, those fighting cancer, cheer up a first responders child who may be battling an illness, or provide Christmas presents for a family in serious need… All without hesitation or limit. There are endless possibilities to how MY CBH family can help others without the want for credit or accolades. This ladies and gentleman is just a snap shot of why when it gets hot out and the miles get harder with every pedal stroke we keep riding.

There is no greater feeling than to honor our fallen and care for those in need! No greater feeling than seeing the look on the face of a mother, father, wife, husband, sister, brother, daughter, or son when they know19144024_10208895751250872_4242191225380915346_o after all they have suffered they are not alone. That their loved one is still alive in the hearts and minds of many.

And, in true representation of what Captain Biviano said, Talia Kugler, sister-in-law of Greg Alia, was there to welcome riders as they came into Columbia, sharing her love and appreciation for their efforts.

Ride on, heroes! Your efforts show us that the fallen are never forgotten.

Compassionate Acts Program Meeting

We had a great planning meeting today for our Compassionate Acts Program!

Our focus was on planning for our upcoming partnership with Harvest Hope! We have heard time and time again that police often come across families who are hungry and are unable to afford food. Our vision is to provide police, especially small, rural departments, with boxes of nonperishable food. So, when they come across a family in need, they can provide the box and connect them with resources to help their families. We are working on putting a pilot together that would test these ideas in summer, when food is especially scarce for families.

We also talked about putting together the Daddy and Me 5K. The run is Chief Kevin Cornett’s vision; he is from a broken home and knows the value of having a father figure. For a long time, he has wanted to raise money for the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition to support their work helping families and father reconnect but he hasn’t had the resources. Through our Compassionate Acts Program, we plan to make his vision a reality.

We are working hard to put the entire program together and recently conducted a survey with law enforcement in state. We heard about the things police encounter every day – homelessness, poverty, hunger, run down homes. We also heard about their ideas. For example, their ideas to build parks and recreation centers. Below are some example quotes.

“I’ve seen families that didn’t have much food. Not enough beds people sleeping 2-3 to a small bed. I’ve seen juvenile’s age 13-14 having to share underwear. I’ve walked into home that were falling apart and holes in the floor.” (Officer response from survey)

“There was a call that we sent one of our deputies to where an elderly lady with dementia was living alone and was malnourished, she had become a hoarder with several cats there. She had little to no family living here.” (Officer response from survey)

“I volunteer fire and rescue in Greatfalls and there is nothing for kids or anyone in that fact to do in that town. I would like to see maybe a community center or recreation center with a pool, basketball goals, and tennis courts and somewhere where kids, teens and adults can learn different crafts such as DYI projects.” (Officer response from survey)

The Compassionate Acts Program will help us put these ideas into action to build stronger communities. We stand with our heroes, those in blue as well as the many other men and women in our community who work hard everyday to make us safer, healthier, and happier.