An 18-year patrolman with 121 DUI arrests under his belt and a sergeant, whose street crimes unit is credited with putting a “dent in the city’s drug activity,” received high honors Monday at the Rotary Club of Myrtle Beach’s 50th annual Police Officer of the Year Award Ceremony.
Patrolman First Class Shon McCluskey said he felt “overwhelmed” to have been named the Officer Joe McGarry Memorial Police Officer of the Year. He was recognized among a field of seven top cops credited with countless acts of heroism and compassionate service to the community.
“You look at the group of guys that are up here and to be recognized on top of that, it’s just an unbelievable feeling. It’s a feeling I haven’t had before,” McCluskey said after the ceremony inside the Ocean Reef Resort on Monday.
McCluskey has answered more than 1,300 calls, completed 900 traffic stops, worked 258 collisions and made 121 DUI arrests in his 18 years with the Myrtle Beach Police Department. But he gave credit to his team for the top honor.
“I work with a whole group of guys and we work as a team. Without them I couldn’t achieve anything that I achieve,” he said. “We all have to be out there together and I’ve got a great group of guys that have my back and assist me.”
Also crediting the great men and women he serves with, Sgt. Bryan Murphy received the high honor of the club’s first Lifetime Achievement Award for a Myrtle Beach police officer.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Murphy said after the ceremony. “It’s a great honor just to be nominated, but then to actually win it is awesome. I can’t put it into words.”
Murphy said he knew he wanted to be an officer as a young boy. He followed that dream into adulthood and has now worked in law enforcement 24 years.
Murphy is considered to be one of the “go to guys for assignments or advice” in his department.
“After his time in uniform patrol and the waterfront, Murphy excelled as a school resource officer” and then as the department’s special events coordinator, according to his nomination.
“A promotion to sergeant sent Murphy to the street crimes unit, primarily a plain-clothes unit dealing with street-level crimes. During his stint there, the unit made several significant arrests and put a dent in the city’s drug activity,” Rotarian Matt Sedota said, reading Murphy’s nomination.
Murphy now trains the force he works with in several areas and is in charge of the department’s regulatory unit. He was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award along with six of the department’s most dedicated officers.
“Everybody in this department comes to work and they give 100 percent all the time and it just goes to show if you continue to work hard, you can get recognized,” Murphy said.
Other nominees for the lifetime achievement honor included Sgt. Lester Cook, Patrolman First Class Keith Deverell, Cpl. Tommy Hunt, Patrolman First Class Stephanie James, McCluskey and Cpl. Troy Spivey.
I work with a whole group of guys and we work as a team. Without them I couldn’t achieve anything that I achieve.
Officer Shon McCluskey, Myrtle Beach Police Department
Nominees recognized for Police Officer of the Year included Patrolman First Class Henry Bresadoa, retired Patrolman First Class Michael Kevin Dame, Patrolman First Class Keith Deverell, Patrolman First Class Michael Householder, McCluskey, Cpl. Paul Morrell and Patrolman First Class Paul Sweeney.
McCluskey and Murphy were both honored with proclamations from the South Carolina House of Representatives honoring their service.
Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach) also honored the Rotary Club and its members for their 70 years of “service above self” to the community.