U.S. Marshals task force member named Myrtle Beach police officer of the year

An officer assigned to the U.S. Marshals Task Force in Myrtle Beach was named the Joe McGarry Memorial Police Officer of the Year by the Rotary Club of Myrtle Beach on Monday.

Richard Arroyo has been with the Myrtle Beach police department since 2002 and is a member of the street crimes unit in addition to his assignment on the task force.

Arroyo said he primarily serves warrants and arrests suspects of violent crimes.

Matt Sedota, who introduced each of the nominees, said Arroyo’s “duties put him face to face with the most dangerous criminals.” Arroyo is credited with multiple arrests of suspects wanted in violent crimes, Sedota said, and “is described as someone who does not seek recognition, but wants to do a good job for his community.”

Arroyo said he was overwhelmed after hearing he was named this year’s winner. The other nominees were Ryan Gross, Richard Harper, Stephanie James, Jarrod Mackin, Shon McCluskey and Michelle McSpadden.

“I feel overwhelmed because there were so many fantastic candidates,” he said. “Everyone had their own specialty and strengths. I feel very lucky to be part of this group.”

He said he was born in the Bronx, NY and grew up in Syracuse before moving to Myrtle Beach.

“I came on vacation in 1994 and never left again,” he said.

Being the center of attention was difficult for the 42-year-old officer and single-father whose cheeks were flushed as each Rotarian and dignitary at Monday’s ceremony at the Ocean Reef Resort congratulated him and shook his hand.

“I feel very lucky,” Arroyo said. “Very fortunate. My dad was a cop in New York City. I don’t know if it’s been in my blood, but serving others, helping people do things they can’t do for themselves, that’s the biggest joy I get.”

Arroyo said he hopes to continue working another 10 to 15 years, but might be working behind a desk before he retires because chasing younger suspects can be tough on his joints and back.