News and Press Releases

Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement

December 7, 2012

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA -- United States Attorney Bill Nettles’ Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee hosted the annual Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement Luncheon today at Fort Jackson Officers' Club, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The awards luncheon was attended by more than 130 state, local and federal law enforcement officials from across the state.

The following South Carolina law enforcement officers received the 2012 awards:

City - Chief Randall G. Scott, Columbia Police Department
County - Major Todd A. Johnson, Newberry Co. Sheriff’s Office
Federal - Special Agent Ronald Grosse, Federal Bureau of Investigation
State - Colonel Michael R. Oliver, SC Department of Public Safety/Highway Patrol Div.

The Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement were established by Senator Strom Thurmond in 1983 to recognize law enforcement officers whose performances demonstrate the highest ideals of excellence in professional law enforcement. An annual award is given in each of four categories: (1) City Officer; (2) County Officer; (3) State Officer; and (4) Federal Officer. An awards committee composed of representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Strom Thurmond Foundation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, along with a police chief and sheriff who have received the award selected the recipients from nominations received from across the state.

In presenting the awards, United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated, "It is indeed an honor to recognize these four outstanding officers. Each of these officers exemplifies the best in law enforcement, serving their agencies, this state and our nation with distinction, integrity, and character, making tremendous personal sacrifices to ensure just enforcement.”

City Recipient
Chief Randall G. Scott
Columbia Police Department

Chief Randy Scott was named Chief of Police for the City of Columbia in October 2010 after a distinguished career at Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Chief Scott currently commands a department which is authorized 406 sworn members and 92 civilian members. Chief Scott has faced the numerous challenges of being Chief of Police with relentless energy and purpose. In order to build upon effectiveness and efficiency, Chief reorganized the department and established new priorities, creating stability, placing renewed emphasis on community policing and focusing on the reduction of violent crimes. Chief Scott’s philosophy for the Columbia Police Department centers around three key goals: community partnerships, customer service ethic, and crime fighting. Additionally, Chief Scott has hared his vision for the Department with his officers, who have become believers in the Department’s mission and philosophy. At the same time, he has engaged the community in dialogue and demonstrated sincere responsiveness to their concerns.

Chief Scott believes investing in our youth is the best way to secure a promising future. He volunteers his time to lecture at area colleges, universities and schools. Chief Scott holds an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Midland’s Technical College, a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Limestone College and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Troy University.

Before starting his law enforcement career, Chief Scott was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for six years. He is an Adjunct Professor at Limestone College and a 2008 graduate of the 232nd class of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy. He was also the 2000 South Carolina Officer of the Year, the 2012 South Carolina Victims Advocate Chief of the Year, and most recently a Midlands Technical College Distinguished Graduate. Chief Scott currently serves on the Capital City Club Board of Governors, the Columbia Urban League Ready Mentor Advisory Board, South University’s Advisory Board, and Transitions (Homeless Shelter) Advisory Board.

Chief Scott is the son of Dewey and Virginia Scott. He has eight children, five girls and three boys.

County Recipient
Major Todd A. Johnson
Newberry County Sheriff’s Office

Major Todd Johnson began his career in law enforcement in his hometown of Whitmire, SC, as a dispatcher shortly after graduating from high school. At age 21, he became a full-time police officer, and during his five years at Whitmire Police Department, he worked his way up through the ranks and was promoted to Captain, being the second in command of the agency.

In 1994, Major Johnson joined the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy and worked his way through the ranks as an investigator, Lieutenant, and Captain. In 2002, he was promoted to Major. As Major, he supervises all special operations, including the School Resource Officer program, budgeting and grants, courthouse security and court operations. Major Johnson has been an integral part of every major investigation at the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office since 1994. Notably, he cleared several church burglaries which plagued several counties and was also involved in clearing numerous burglaries using forensic fingerprinting.

Major Johnson has designed and implemented a unique active shooter training program designed specifically for a response within a rural community for the school resource officer program and the rest of the staff at Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. The program has been so successful that it has been distributed to other small rural agencies across the country.

Major Johnson is responsible for securing in grants for Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. Through his work, the Sheriff’s Office obtained grants which have provided citizens with an enhanced 911 center, laptop computers for all officers. These grants have also made it possible for the agency to employ and deploy AFIS/live scan fingerprinting. Additionally, because of his abilities in the technology field, Major Johnson has worked with several technology working groups through the National Institute of Justice and he is a regular speaker on leveraging low-cost options for small rural agencies and how to maintain a high performing school resource officer program.

Major Johnson and his wife Kerry have three children. He is also a bi-vocational pastor at a growing and successful church in Whitmire.

Federal Recipient
Special Agent Ronald Grosse
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Special Agent Ronald Grosse graduated from the University of Maryland in 1982 with a degree in Criminal Justice. He served in the United States Army in the Field Artillery and Military Police from 1983 to 1990, including tours of duty in Korea, Germany, and Panama. In April 1990, Special Agent Grosse joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After 16 weeks of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, he reported for duty in Columbia, SC, where he was assigned to the White Collar Crime Squad. Special Agent Grosse has investigated a wide variety of cases including public corruption, and violations of almost all of the federal fraud statutes. Special Agent Grosse’s investigative efforts in uncovering and prosecuting fraud and abuse has resulted in more than 200 convictions, $285,171,758.00 in court-ordered victim restitution, and the recovery of $31,577,877.00 in fraudulently obtained/stolen goods. Guilty verdicts have been obtained in each of the fourteen federal trials in which he has participated.

Special Agent Grosse routinely takes on collateral assignments, bringing as much effort and skill to these assignments as he does his cases. For 12 years, he served on FBI Columbia Evidence Response Team which has played a critical role in almost every major FBI investigation undertaken in South Carolina in the past 20 years. He has used his emergency response training to assist in a number of noble national missions, including the Centennial Olympic Park Bombing, the September 11 attack on the Pentagon, and the evidence/human remains recovery mission following September 11 at the Fresh Kills Landfill in New York. He also served as a Crisis Negotiator for 11 years. At the request of FBI Headquarters, he provided a two-day block of instruction on white collar crime investigations and the operation of confidential human sources at the Japan National Police Academy in Tokyo. For the past 17 years, Special Agent Grosse has served as a special agent applicant assessor, interviewing prospective new agents all around the country. In 2011, he spent four months in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he participated on a federal task force investigating fraud and corruption in a hostile environment, with increased risk to his well being.

Special Agent Grosse and his wife, Dawna, have three children, Seth, a junior at Dutch Fork High School, and twins Sam and Sarah who are both juniors at Clemson University.

State Recipient
Colonel Michael R. Oliver
SC Dept. of Public Safety/Highway Patrol Division

Colonel Michael R. Oliver currently serves as the commander of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the state’s largest law enforcement agency. He oversees more than 800 troops who are responsible for traffic enforcement statewide as well as a non-sworn staff of nearly 300.

Colonel Oliver, a Lancaster native, began his law enforcement career at the age of 15. After becoming an Eagle Scout, he joined the Law Enforcement Explorer program sponsored by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. He remained an active law enforcement explorer as well as a part-time dispatcher until he became a commissioned deputy in 1980.

In 1982, Colonel Oliver joined the South Carolina Highway Patrol and was assigned to Marlboro County. He also spent time in Chesterfield and York Counties before being promoted to Corporal in Lancaster County in 1989. In 1994, he was promoted to Sergeant in Lancaster and then to Lieutenant in the Troop 4 Regional Office in 2000. In 2008, he was promoted to Captain where he was over the statewide telecommunications unit at Highway Patrol Headquarters in Blythewood. In March 2009, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served as Deputy Commander until he was appointed Colonel in December 2011.

Colonel Oliver is a graduate of the University of South Carolina at Lancaster and the South Carolina “Executive Leadership Institute.” He currently serves on the Communications and Technology Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is the State and Provincial Southern Regional Chairman for IACP. Colonel Oliver is the 2nd Vice President of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association and is slated to serve as President of SCLEOA for the 2014/2015 fiscal year. He formerly served as Secretary and as a District Representative for SCLEOA. Under his leadership, the South Carolina Highway Patrol and Troopers in the organization have been the recipients of many awards, including the 2010 Santee Cooper Award for Excellence by the SCLEOA.

Colonel Oliver and his wife Lynn reside in Lancaster and have two adult children.

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