Meet our fourth finalist for the 4th Annual Officer Gregory Alia Award, Lieutenant Brandon Rollins of the Lancaster County Sheriff Office. Lieutenant Rollins was nominated because of the compassion that he exhibits on a daily basis for those in his community and because of the work that he has done in regards to our state’s current opioid epidemic. One nomination states, “Lt. Rollins has made a commitment to solving our drug problems through more than just tactical means. He has spent hours of his own time talking with addicts and recovering addicts. He takes measures to advocate on their behalf to ensure they get the appropriate treatment and are treated with dignity and respect.”
Why did you join?: It wasn’t something I grew up wanting to do as a child, but when I was in high school, that service feeling was something that was powerful, I wanted to serve my country and community. I went into the national guard, and worked in the prison system for two years. After turning 21, I started working for the Sheriff’s Department.
What does it mean for you to be able to give back?: think that I have been put in a unique situation. Being put in the life experiences that I have, I am able to put those to use, I’m able to sit down with younger officers being able to teach them how to help in a different way. One of the bigger things that we’ve been able to jump in on is that we’ve started a diversion program where people can be diverted to an addiction program instead of going to jail. I’ve been able to take that and instill that into younger officers. To be able to sit in a room with convicted felons who were arrested for numerous drug charges, and be able to be upfront and tell them “I’m a lieutenant”, but to be able to have them see me in a different way, as someone they can trust. Being able to give back in that sense even on my days off. Everything that you see in the news today isnt everything that is actually going on. Being able to go up to people and telling them I truly care about them and that I don’t want to see them overdosing is powerful.
What is the key to connecting with community?: Don’t just do it on the job, help people off the job as well. My daughter and I were at a local grocery store when I was off-duty, and there was a guy in front of me in line. Him, my partner, and I had gotten into an altercation a few weeks prior where we had to choke him to keep him from swallowing the narcotics. But when I saw him in the grocery store he came up to me and asked me about my family and how they were doing, and I asked the same. We had a friendly and caring conversation, and told each other to take care. My daughter asked if this man was one of my friends. And I told her “actually no honey, it’s someone I had to arrest about a month ago.” And I thought that was really great that I was able to chat like old friends with a man I had just arrested. I feel as though we as a community have lost the ability to communicate effectively, people have the right to understand why exactly we have to do what we have to do. And through training the younger officers I want them to be able to effectively communicate with the person they are interacting with.
Join us in congratulating Officer Rollins for his nomination and for being named a finalist!
About the Officer Gregory Alia Award
Serve & Connect was founded by Kassy Alia in memory of her husband, Greg Alia, who was killed in the line of duty on September 30th, 2015. This prestigious annual award is named in his honor and recognizes 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 employed their role with thoughtfulness and tact; and who through everyday interactions builds a safer community for all. The award is presented at our annual event, the Knight of Honor Gala, which will be held on September 27, 2019 in Columbia, SC.