Thin blue line flags wave on front campus as BJU hosts the Allen Jacobs Memorial Breakfast for the fourth consecutive year. Officer Jacobs, a Bob Jones Academy alumnus and son of faculty members Drs. Don and Tammie Jacobs, died in the line of duty in March 2016.
The annual event commemorates his service and is a platform to honor fallen officers, recognize the work of those still standing and raise funds for the Allen Jacobs Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The event, which took place in the Davis Room of the Dixon-McKenzie Dining Common, hosted dozens of local law enforcement officers, their families, BJU criminal justice students and other members of the Greenville community. While WYFF-4 TV anchor Jane Robelot reprised her role as master of ceremonies, 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins served as the keynote speaker.
Wilkins spoke about the recent animosity towards law enforcement and prosecutors and commended the officers in the room for serving despite the pressure. “Let us never forget that supporting and defending the grand vision of freedom, liberty, equality, have been literally thousands and thousands of law enforcement officers over the years who dedicated themselves to carrying on that mission,” said the circuit solicitor.
Robelot also thanked those present for their daily risk-taking. “I want you to know and I want your families to know that we appreciate your dedication. We appreciate your service. Our children appreciate your dedication and your service. And we hold you and your family in our daily prayers.”
Following the annual prayer time, Dr. Pettit presented awards to Upstate officials and organizations.
- The Award of Merit was given to the Crimes Against Children Unit of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office for their incredible job in protecting the young. Last year, while understaffed, the team investigated 900 cases in the county.
- Officer Nicole Burrell was awarded the Public Safety Employee of the Year for her excellent work performance. Her work with the K-9 unit allows her to be a positive ambassador of law enforcement to the public.
- Officer Andrew Sturman received the Distinguished Achievement Award for his successful arrests, seizure of firearms, and indictment of repeat offenders.
- For his brave effort in pursuing an armed suspect and taking down a repeat offender, officer Cameron Steele earned the highest honor of the day—the Allen Jacobs Award of Valor.
“I love that we take time to recognize the recent achievements of local heroes,” said retired Travelers Rest Police Captain and BJU alumnus John Gardner. “The stories we heard today were extraordinary acts of bravery and professional dedication to their craft. By recognizing these officers, we get to say, ‘thank you’ for the excellent service that is oftentimes overlooked by the community and media.”
Honoring his Memory
In February, Jacobs’ colleagues, wishing to honor his memory, began a petition to name the I-85/385 interchange after the fallen officer. While other Greenville citizens proposed to title the interchange after President Donald Trump or former President Barack Obama, a Change.org request continues to gather votes in favor of Jacobs. Luke Plessinger, a family friend of the Jacobs’s started the petition because “there is no way to repay the debt that we owe Allen Jacobs and his family; we can, however, show a small bit of gratitude for his service to our community.” Today, the request has over 30,000 signatures.
The Jacobs Interchange petition caught the attention of Rep. Bobby J. Cox, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. On Feb. 6, 2020, Rep. Cox submitted a resolution to dedicate the interchange to Jacobs. “Naming this intersection in honor of him will help us remember Officer Jacobs and the daily sacrifices first responders go through to protect the community,” said Cox.
While the resolution has yet to pass, this change gives the Greenville community an opportunity to daily honor Jacobs’s sacrifice, as it was honored during this morning’s event.