- OTHER SERVICES VOICES:
- AIR FORCE
- COAST GUARD
|An up close and personal interview with U.S. Police Veteran and Togetherweserved.com Member:
PFC Ed K. McCreary (1986-Present)
Summerville Police Department
WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO MAKE A CAREER IN LAW ENFORCEMENT?
I decided as a kid that I wanted to be like Malloy and Reed of the old "Adam 12" television series. They were heroic, yet human, and they seemed to make a difference.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER PATH AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?
It has been an experience. I started as a Reserve Police Officer in North Carolina. I have worked for the past 25+ years for police departments in: Greensboro, NC, Mebane, NC, Fort Mill,SC, North Charleston, SC, Summerville Police Department.
I also served as a Deputy Sheriff in York County South Carolina and as a Police Officer for the Charleston County, SC Aviation Authority Police Department and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Police Department, before ending up in Summerville.
I am currently a School Resource Officer, Hostage Negotiator and Field Training Officer, but I have served as a Detective in Investigations, in Narcotics and in Vice. I've dispatched, worked ACE (drug enforcement on the interstates), Warrants Division and spent the majority of my career on the streets as a patrol officer (mostly working nights).
DID YOU SERVE IN THE MILITARY PRIOR? AND IF SO, IN WHAT BRANCH OF SERVICE? IN WHAT WAYS HAS MILITARY SERVICE INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER IN LAW ENFORCEMENT?
I was born into the military - literally. I grew up on military bases (Army) all over the world where my father was stationed. Most memorable places were Japan and Alaska.
I learned early on about discipline, strength, character, pride, integrity, commitment and professionalism. Those values were instilled in me, and I carry them with me today, as I have throughout my law enforcement career.
WHICH, OF THE AGENCIES OR DEPARTMENTS YOU WERE ASSIGNED TO, DO YOU HAVE THE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY?
The Greensboro Police Department set the standard for me early on. However, Rock Hill was my first full time agency and I had an exceptional field training officer (and later partner and very close friend) by the name of Joseph R. (Joe) McCullough. Joe was a real character who he knew the streets, and he knew how to deal with people. I learned a lot from that man, and his lessons are with me today, as are the instructions of Mike Dunnington and Jeff Mercer, my first mentors and role models with the Greensboro Police Department.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER WHAT PARTICULAR INCIDENT HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
There have been so many, the deaths of my then father in law Butch Grant, James (Brent)
McCants (pictured) and Gail Maggart, all of the York County Sheriff's Department. All were co-workers and very dear friends. In particular, the killing of Brent McCants in the line of duty, as I responded to the scene to watch my friend die of gunshot wounds, having been executed on the side of the road during a traffic stop. The feeling of sickness and helplessness was almost overwhelming.The passing of Joe McCullough, of the Rock Hill Police Department, who was so much more than a friend!
The taking of lives in the line of duty have made a big impact on me. One being an armed ex-cop, wanted in North Carolina for the attempted murder of a police officer and numerous armed robberies. Another, a 22 year old gang member in and out of jail numerous times, and involved in a violent episode earlier that morning. Both lost their lives to drugs long before our fateful encounters.
I've witnessed more that I can relate, and this has affected me over the years. The abuse, the deaths, the victims, the celebration of lives saved in negotiations, the accomplishments and successes of career, both my own, and of others around me. I've watched life expire and assisted life coming into the world. I've given more than my share of bad news, to good people and have been amazed at the human condition and character that people display during all kinds of extreme circumstances and situations.
How can you do this job for this many years and not be affected by it all?
OF THE MEDALS, AWARDS OR BADGES YOU RECEIVED, WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
The Medal of Valor but I'm proud of each of my awards on their own merits as they each reflect important moments in my total career.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL PERSON FROM YOUR CAREER MADE THE MOST POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON YOU AND WHY?
There are three: Joe McCulough (Rock Hill Police Department) for taking the time to make sure that I was prepared for whatever this job would throw at me and showing me it's okay to have a sense of humor to balance it out.
Jeff Mercer (Greensboro Police Department), for setting the standards of what being a
police officer and family man should be. For inviting me into his family and creating a lasting friendship that I will always treasure.
D.W. Perdue, whom I worked with in Mebane and Greensboro, NC, for remaining my friend for the past thirty-three years and always being there though everything, in spite of the miles that were often between us. Showing me that the bond of the badge stretches far beyond what anyone could imagine.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR CAREER THAT WAS FUNNY AT THE TIME AND STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
I was riding with a fellow deputy one afternoon in York County when we dec
ided to pull into a car wash on SC72. As we
pulled onto the lot, we both observed a large sign, and he began reading it out loud. "For the best hand job in Rock Hill, pull in here". As he completed reading it, we both burst out laughing and could not stop. Just then, we were called by
dispatch, but neither one of us could answer the radio because we were laughing so hard we were in tears.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER?
Don't do all the talking and you just might learn something!
WHAT LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIP(S)?
South Carolina Association of Crisis Negotiators, National Criminal Enforcement Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Police Benevolent Association.
Each provides it's own benefits unique to it's field as well as networking opportunities with other professionals in law enforcement.
HOW HAS SERVING AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU CONDUCT YOUR PERSONAL LIFE AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS OUTSIDE OF THE DEPARTMENT?
I think it's hard to separate what we do, from who we are sometimes. Cops are notorious for wanting to control everything. We're also known for our high divorce rate as well. (Guilty).
But on the other hand, I think being in law enforcement holds us to a higher standard and most officers convey that in other aspects of their lives.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR A ROOKIE WHO HAS JUST PUT ON THE BADGE?
Don't assume that you know everything as soon as you graduate the academy. You don't. Even after you're through with FTO and you're on your own and starting to feel confident, you still have a lot to learn. After a few years on the streets. Nope. Folks, you never know it all, so don't act
like you do.
Listen to senior officers. From veterans who have really been there and done that, not just say they have. Learn from our mistakes, so that you don't make them yourselves.
Don't live for your job. There's nothing like it in the world. Every day it's something different and at times it's great! But it will never take the place of your family and those who are close to you. If you choose the job over everything else, you'll lose everything else. Don't make your wife and family feel second best or less important. This is a job, a career maybe, but balance it with the rest of your life.
Come to the realization early on that everything is not black and white. There's a lot of grey out there. Enforce the spirit of the law, more than the letter of the law. Or you'll never make it to your pension.
And lastly, always remember the "two percent factor". Your badge covers 2% of your body and none of your ass. Don't expect it to get you out of anything that you can't get out of on your own. It is not some invisible force shield.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU FEEL THIS WEBSITE CAN BENEFIT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY?
In recent years I've observed the "police family" going the way of the societal family. We're falling apart. The thin blue line of camaraderie is all but a thing of the past. We are seeing a generation of self serving people who are in this job to make money and to better themselves at all cost.
There was a time when you earned the respect of your peers by joining them, working hard and standing by each other through whatever was thrown at you. You did it together. Celebrating triumphs and achievements together. Now it seems that we're obsessed with what someone else has that we want. Be it rank, position, title or whatever.
I would like to see us return to where we've drifted from afar. Maybe this site can be a start to restoring the spirit of brotherhood and things that really matter.
Share this Voices on:
TWS Voices are the personal stories of men and women who currently serve, or who previously served as a US Police or Federal Officer, and conveys how serving their Country and Community has made a positive impact on their lives. If you would like your story to be featured in a future edition of Voices, or know someone else who may be interested, please contact TWS Voices HERE
This edition of Police Voices was supported by:
For all current serving and veteran Police Officers, Together We Served is a secure, feature rich website enabling Officers to reconnect with lost Brothers and Sisters, share in the camaraderie of other Officers, network for professional purposes and to honor the service of all.
To join Police.Togetherweserved.com, please click HERE