COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Law enforcement officers from across the state were honored at the inaugural Governor’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year ceremony Friday.

13 finalists were named across three categories split between state, county and municipal agencies.

During the ceremony, Gov. Henry McMaster said, “I’m proud and thankful for those of our people who determined and decided to go into law enforcement. A lot of us get up in the morning and put on a shirt and a tie looking in the mirror. People in this room get up in the morning and put on a bulletproof vest and go out to who knows what.”

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety was named as the program administrator of the Governor’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award program. According to officials, ss outlined in Proviso 63.10, which comes from the state budget, an advisory committee was established with members appointed by McMaster. The committee includes law enforcement leaders who review and select winners in the three categories mentioned for their professionalism, dedication to duty, community service, valor, and innovation in the profession.

The following law enforcement agencies have officers named as finalists:

  • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • State Law Enforcement Division
  • South Carolina Highway Patrol
  • South Carolina Department of Corrections
  • Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office
  • Greenville County Sheriff’s Office
  • Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office
  • Horry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sumter County Sheriff’s Office
  • Columbia Police Department
  • North Charleston Police Department
  • Rock Hill Police Department
  • Charleston Police Department

SLED Special Agent David Owen was awarded with the state officer of the Year. Special Agent Owen was the lead investigator in the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh. Earlier this year, he testified during the closely watched Alex Murdaugh double murder trial. Murdaugh was convicted in that case.

Staff Sergeant Blake Weathersbee with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office was named county officer of the year. He said, “I’m very honored to be in the room with officers of this high of a nature.” Investigator Luke Boling with the Rock Hill Police Department was named municipal officer of the year.

For a full list of finalists click or tap here.