Thursday, September 26, 2013
Patrolman First Class Brooks Barlow, 31, of Moncks Corner is a local boy. He grew up in Moncks Corner graduating from St. John’s Christian first and then Trident Technical College with a degree in criminal justice.
From 2005 to 2011 he worked as a detention officer for both Berkeley and Dorchester counties.
But it wasn’t a direct path. He began at Trident in an aircraft maintenance program. But a psychology professor indirectly changed the course of his life.
“We had to write this paper on ‘doing something in the community,’” he says. “So I sat in a nursing home and read a couple of books to an elderly man and though ‘policing is community’ so I changed my paper and did it on law enforcement’s involvement in the community.”
To do this, he rode with the St. Stephen Police Department, Moncks Corner PD and North Charleston PD.
“I decided, ‘I really like this,’” he says.
St. Stephen was really slow, [calls] he continues, and Moncks Corner was a bit more active and North Charleston….one after another!”
So he changed to criminal justice and, when finished, went through the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office reserve program and then applied for a job.
He was offered a position in the jail and told that after a year he could move into a deputy’s job.
However, after a year that didn’t happen so he left Berkeley County and went to work for Dorchester where, because he was already a certified detention officer, he worked the prisoner transport team for two years. While with DCSO he served on the Honor Guard and with the Dive Team – Underwater Rescue and Recovery.
Still wanting real police work, he left DCSO and went to the St. Stephen PD, became police certified and, in a year, earned the rank of corporal.
He then came to SPD. A certified diver, he is also trained in SFST – field sobriety; Advanced DUI; Drug Interdiction; Radar; EVOCII driving course and as an Underwater Criminal Investigator.
The UCI enables him to set up an underwater crime scene and use body bags underwater to recover a body. He also has his IPMB certification qualifying him for the Bike Team. He uses his bike to patrol neighborhoods and the bike trail.
“I consider myself relatively new to law enforcement,” he says, “but further on I might like to try for detective. But I want to learn all I can on patrol before I do that.”
“Patrol is the best of law enforcement,” he says, “there is a lot of community policing and helping people. Also traffic, which I hate.
“The worst 90 seconds of someone’s life is a normal day for us.”
Barlow agrees with his colleagues that an injured child is the worst. “Some things you see out there…it really bothers you.”
But helping people is the best.
“I had a lady a few months ago – an elderly woman who had lost some jewelry and I filled out a report for her. She came in to the station to compliment me and told them ‘I really listened.’”
When he is not helping people (or making those hated traffic stops) he spends his time with his family. He and his wife Jenna are parents to Anjali, 12; Alexa, 3 and Charlotte, 2.
Everything he does is with the family he says. He loves college football and is a Gamecock fan because his dad is an alumnus. “My dad comes over on Saturdays to watch the game with me.
He is active in his church and, in the past, has played baseball and basketball.
“I used to hunt wild turkey, but I have no time to do that anymore,” he says.
He doesn’t fish, he says, because he can’t sit still long enough.
“I love cooking,” he says, “I think I am good at it…no one complains!”
He reads the paper regularly both in print and online, and, recently, has begun going to the gym with his wife.
“I do weight lifting,” he says, “we go to the gym together. She started then talked me into it and I really enjoy it.”
“I would like to go back to college and get a degree in accounting,” he says, noting his dad is an accountant, “so when I retire from policing I can have an accounting career.”
This, he says with a grin, will pay for the kids college.