Lieutenant Robert Calby
Meet Lieutenant Robert Calby of the Columbia Police Department! Lieutenant Calby has been nominated for this year’s Officer Gregory Alia Award because over the course of his 12 years with the Columbia Police Department, he has grown into an innovative, forward-thinking 21st century police officer who is passionate about building community relationships.
His colleagues describe him as an officer who “takes steps to reduce bias and improve cultural competency, while promoting internal diversity.” He is an officer who “strives to utilize every available outlet in his efforts to raise awareness, educate communities, and gather resources to fit the needs” of the communities that he serves.
His commitment to community was clear when we had the chance to connect with him. When asked about a moment when he felt he made a difference, Lt. Calby shared, “Everyone I encounter I positively or negatively impact. But for me, the moment that stands out the most, I believe I was a rookie at the time. It was a neighborhood complaint of drug activity. We were tased with addressing the narcotics complaint in the neighborhood .It wasn’t my job to go into the neighborhood to go in and tell them what needed to be done to fix the problem. I realized my job was to find out what the community needed from me. When I realized how to be a community servant, and understood my role was to help the community, was my crowning moment.”
He feels the key to connecting with community lies in his commitment to listen. “We are in a unique position to directly impact someone’s life. If I’m looking at it as just a box to check, I’m afraid we’ll negatively impact those people more than we’ll positively impact them. Simply taking the extra time to find out what the real underlying issue is and addressing that puts us in a better position to help people,” he shared.
Lt. Calby gives back to his community daily, but he believes he isn’t alone. He loves being a part of something “bigger” and believes the most important thing is community involvement. “We aren’t in this as just one entity. We are in this together. Not just one person to build a house. You need an electrician, a plumber… you need more than one resource to build a house. Just like a community.”
We are thankful that he is part of our community and proud to honor him as a finalist for the Officer Gregory Alia Award!
About the Officer Gregory Alia Award
Serve & Connect was founded by Kassy Alia in memory of her husband, Greg Alia, who was killed in the line of duty on September 30th, 2015. This prestigious annual award is named in his honor and recognizes an outstanding officer who demonstrates a commitment to serve his/her community with respect and compassion; one who goes above the call of duty to ensure that members of the community are protected, cared for, and feel valued; one who treats all members of the community as equal and who employed their role with thoughtfulness and tact; and who through everyday interactions builds a safer community for all. The award is presented at our annual event, the Knight of Honor Gala, which will be held on September 28, 2018 in Columbia, SC.
Lieutenant Robert Calby