ADVISORY: Statewide Effort Underway To Build Stronger Police-Community Relations

Law enforcement leaders across South Carolina partner with Serve & Connect to expand Greg’s Groceries initiative to improve community relations

Columbia, SC – This Thursday, May 20, at 11 a.m. at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia, SLED Chief Mark Keel along with police chiefs and sheriffs from across South Carolina will announce a partnership with Serve & Connect to expand the Columbia-based nonprofit’s Greg’s Groceries program. The event is part of a larger statewide commitment among law enforcement agencies to build stronger police-community relations. Law enforcement agencies and Serve & Connect will pack 800 boxes of non-perishable food. The agencies will take the boxes back to their local communities for officers to deliver to families and individuals in need. The overall goal of Greg’s Groceries is to provide a resource to police that may not otherwise be available. Greg’s Groceries boxes are intended to create opportunities for positive, non-enforcement interactions between police officers and community members while fostering an environment to enhance trust.

What:              Media are invited to attend an event where law enforcement leaders, including

SLED Chief Mark Keel will announce a commitment to strengthen police-

community relations through the statewide expansion of Columbia-based nonprofit, Serve & Connect’s, Greg’s Groceries initiative. Eight hundred boxes of non-perishable food to be packed by law enforcement agencies from across South Carolina. Police will deliver the boxes to people in need. 

When:             Thursday, May 20, at 11 a.m.

Where:            South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, 5400 Broad River Rd, Columbia, SC

29212. Packing will take place in the Warehouse, Building 31.

Parking:         Media may park anywhere close to the building. Enter SC Criminal Justice

Academy from Broad River and turn onto Geology Road. Go through the second stop sign. After the second stop sign, you will see a light blue warehouse on your left – Building 31. Please do not block the loading docks.

Who:               Members of Serve & Connect along with more than 100 law enforcement

professionals. A complete list of participating departments is noted below. Leaders in attendance will be available for interviews.

Background: Serve & Connect is a Columbia-based nonprofit organization with the mission of

fostering positive change through sustainable police-community partnerships. Greg’s Groceries is an initiative within Serve & Connect’s Compassionate Acts Program which provides resources to police to assist people in need. Boxes of non-perishable food, called “Greg’s Groceries,” are provided to police to help people experiencing food insecurity. Boxes may be delivered by police who have identified people in need while on calls or through referrals. Boxes may also be used to support strategic community outreach.

Greg’s Groceries is named after Forest Acres Police Officer Gregory Alia, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2015. His wife, Kassy Alia Ray, founded the program in his honor in 2017. Since that time, over 50,000 meals have been delivered by 26 participating agencies with a significant focus in the Midlands region.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact:

Jenny Wooten McGill

Community Outreach Coordinator

Serve & Connect

Cell: (803) 203-1773


List of Participating Agencies in Attendance

Statewide Agencies/Associations

●      State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Chief Mark Keel

●      South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, Director Jackie Swindler

●      South Carolina Sheriffs Association, Jarrod Bruder, Executive Director

●      South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association, JJ Jones, Executive Director

●      South Carolina Police Chiefs Association, JJ Jones, Executive Director

●      South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police

Midlands Agencies

●      Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office

●      Camden Police Department

●      Cayce Police Department

●      City of Columbia Police Department

●      Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office

●      Forest Acres Police Department, Chief Gene Sealy

●      Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office

●      Lexington Police Department

●      Lexington County Sheriff’s Department

●      Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Department

●      Richland County Sheriff’s Department

●      Springdale Police Department, Chief Andrew Richbourg

●      West Columbia Police Department

Lowcountry Agencies

●      Charleston Police Department

●      Charleston County Sheriff’s Office

●      Goose Creek Police Department, Chief L.J. Roscoe

●      North Charleston Police Department

PeeDee Agencies

●      Georgetown Police Department

●      Timmonsville Police Department, Chief Thomas McFadden

Charlotte/Rock Hill-Area Agencies

●      Chester County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Max Dorsey

●      York County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Kevin Tolson

●      York Police Department

Upstate Agencies

●      Honea Path Police Department

●      Greenwood Police Department, Chief T.J. Chaudoin