NEWBERRY — Members of the U.S. Secret Service were on hand Sunday in Newberry but not for a visit from the president of the United States.
Instead, Patrick Keegan, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service’s Columbia Office, and colleague Bob Rolin, Deputy Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, gathered with other law enforcement officials to honor Jackie Swindler, who retires June 30 as chief of police.
“Jackie (0ver the years) has been more like a son than an employee and I wish him well in his next venture,” said his predecessor, former Police Chief Andrew Shealy.
Sen. Ronnie Cromer and Rep. Walt McLeod presented declarations to Swindler in honor of his retirement and his nearly 40 years of service in law enforcement.
Rolin made the drive that morning from Washington, D.C., and returned the same day to be at work the following day, though he was not there in an official capacity with the Secret Service.
Instead, he said he came like so many did to honor a friend and thank him for his service to the community.
The director of the Secret Service sent his regards to Swindler as well for his value to the department’s investigative and protective missions.
Swindler was honored for the 21 years he served as chief and for taking part in 137 sessions of instruction at the S.C. FBI Academy.
“I was blessed with a wonderful career working with people I truly enjoyed, including the fun and relationships I had with my brother chiefs. I never whined about or dreaded going to work,” Swindler said.
Swindler said he was privileged to work under Shealy whose department “did things the right way for people” and he was honored to keep that standard going.
“I took a lot of time to hire the right kind of people with a dedicated, servant’s attitude and feel I leave a legacy as a peace maker who could get people to work together,” he said.
Swindler said if agencies had friction among them, in his opinion the only ones to benefit would be criminals.
Not everyone had the kind of interagency support and community support toward the common good that he had enjoyed in his career and he thanked all the well wishers for turning out on Sunday.
Other speakers included Jay Koon, Lexington Police Department and representing the FBI National Academy Association; Ryan Cothran, president of the S.C. Police Chief’s Association; Mayor Foster Senn; and Ryan Alpin, executive director of the S.C. Law Enforcement Officer Association. Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster and SLED Director Mark Keel also attended.