Meet our seventh and final finalists for the 4th Annual Officer Gregory Alia Award, PFC Steffonie Cockerill of the Town of Lexington Police Department. PFC Cockerill was nominated by Buckle Buddies for her passion and advocacy for child safety, a trait recogized by others including her selection as Law Enforcement Child Passenger Safety Technician of the Year by Children’s Trust in both 2015 and 2017.
What do you love most about your job?: The instant gratification that I get to be a part of because I am a school resource officer. If you’re ever having a bad day go hang out at the elementary school. You get to see how you change a kids life almost immediately. It only takes a few seconds to really get that group to see that you are okay and you’re not scary. One of the other SRO’s and I work in three schools together and he came up with the lunch buddies where the SROs are able to sit with the classes. The kids can ask whatever questions they want. The kids think its great and you’re being humanized. I tell the kids I don’t want them to base their experience on what they’ve heard. I tell them that hopefully their first officer experience is a good one with the SRO.
When is a time when you felt you truly made a difference in someone’s life?: We always reach out to families during the holidays to see who needs help. We have a neighborhood who offers to help or take in the families. Being able to immediately give them information and reach out and say “hey ___, what size shoes do y’all wear”, because I immediately know someone who can help them. Or to be able to immediately be able to give them a gift card and reach out and do deliveries. Sometimes the CAT team reaches out and asks if I anyone on my radar. The reaction on their faces makes everything worth it.
What is something others don’t know about you?: I came from a background of family domestic violence. My mom is no longer with us, and I think I’m the only one in the family who hasn’t been arrested. But it’s a useful tool I have now because I can actually look for violence when I’m out maybe at the mall or other places, because I can recognize it from my own experiences. I am a victim survivor of a felony DUI.
Join us in congratulating PFC Cockerill for her nomination and for being named a finalist!
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 27, 2019 in Columbia, SC.