UNION — When Sheriff David Taylor took office in 2009, he introduced end-of-the-year awards to recognize employees who have exemplified service beyond the call of duty and excelled in their respective roles.
“We’re fortunate that we’ve got good people and they need to be recognized for their accomplishments,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the awards are based on attendance, attitude and service, and individuals are decided upon by administrative staff and their immediate supervisors.
Patrol Officer of the Year: Sgt. Roger Hill
The Patrol Officer of the Year award was presented to Sgt. Roger Hill, who began a career in police work in 2001. Hill worked with the Department of Public Safety for six years before transferring to the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Hill said he certainly appreciates the award, especially knowing what Sheriff Taylor requires and expects from his deputies, but he does not feel that he deserves the award more than others with whom he works.
“I don’t want to consider myself special or above and beyond any of the other officers,” Hill said. “The award could have gone to a half-dozen other officers. They all put in the time and effort.”
Hill said dedication is required from anyone who takes on a career as an officer.
“When Sheriff Taylor took over, I promised loyalty and dedication, and I try to stick by what I promise,” Hill said.
Hill also said he feels Sheriff Taylor is worthy of an award as well, pointing out that Taylor puts in an enormous amount of time and effort behind the scenes and often takes calls himself.
“I have a lot of respect for him,” Hill said.
Sheriff Taylor did not hesitate when he was asked to describe Sgt. Hill.
“Roger Hill is a motivator,” Taylor said. “He’s a team leader, and he is going to take charge and get the job done.”
Taylor pointed out that in addition to his career as a deputy, Hill is also a member of Union County’s National Guard unit.
“He not only serves the county, but he also serves our country; and he does an exceptional job in both,” Taylor said.
Taylor mentioned that Hill also excels in training young deputies. Hill said he encourages young officers to refer back to their training and listen to those who have experience in law enforcement.
“With the gun and the badge comes a lot of responsibility — to do the right thing,” Hill said, explaining that young officers should listen to their leaders, who have already been through experiences similar to those that young officers are bound to encounter.
Hill said the keys to being a patrol officer are to be vigilant and aware. He also said that officers who are seen riding around the county are not necessarily looking to catch people doing wrong.
“A lot of it is being seen in the community and hoping to deter people from doing wrong,” Hill said.
Hill pointed out that both his police career and his service as a National Guardsman require a lot of time and dedication. Even though his career as a deputy sometimes prevents him from other activities he would enjoy, Hill wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You have to like what you do, and I like what I do,” he said. “I love everything about the job.”
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.