Two Williston natives join S.C. Highway Patrol

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery Managing Editor jonathan.vickery@morris.com

Two Williston natives are among 43 new state troopers who recently graduated.
Bryan Singletary and Joshua Vargo graduated June 27 as part of the S.C. Highway Patrol's Basic 94 class. They will serve the Aiken County area.
Gov. Nikki Haley told the graduates they will stand out in their communities and people will look up to them now because they wear the uniform of the Highway Patrol. "There is great power that comes with that uniform. There is great respect, but that respect doesn't come from putting it on but how you act in that uniform," she said.
"This class continues the outstanding tradition of protecting, serving and educating our residents and visitors of the Palmetto State," said S.C. Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith, who thanked Haley and the General Assembly for providing funding to allow the SCHP to hire new troopers.
Both Vargo and Singletary cited serving and protecting the community as the reason they wanted to become troopers. It's a goal they have had since they were young, they said.
Singletary said he had many law enforcement influences in his childhood but the SCHP always stood out.
"Growing up, I was always trying to help the community by being a firefighter and working for various law enforcement agencies, as well as a rescue squad company. I want to help keep the community safe; therefore, I followed my dream of becoming a State Trooper."
The case is similar for Vargo, who was also involved in community service organizations growing up and knew he wanted to help people.
"In school I knew I wanted to continue helping others and a work environment where every day was different. A career in law enforcement offered this," he said. "The highways can be one of the most dangerous places and if I could make at least one difference a day there then I would be helping a number of people all at the same time. The South Carolina Highway Patrol is a very prestigious agency and their main objective is to keep the highways as safe as possible and I knew that was where I belonged."
Singletary and Vargo said they will do their best to ensure the public safety of South Carolinians and those who visit the state, which is the mission of the SCHP.
"My goals are to enforce the laws while educating the public on traffic safety, to make a difference in the lives that I come in contact with on a day to day basis, and to work to reach the SCDPS's goal of Target Zero," said Singletary of the department's goal to end traffic fatalities on the state's highways.
"As a Trooper I plan to serve the community by keeping the highways safe as possible, educate the public about traffic laws and safety, and accomplish any task that is given to me to the best of my ability," said Vargo.
While they plan to do all they can to keep people safe, they offer a few words of advice to motorists.
"Always be aware, driving safe and reasonable, and obey the laws. Always think things through before you do something and if you see an unsafe driver or a hazard on the road, always report it to the authorities," said Vargo.
"Be alert and cautious at all times, watch the motorists and pedestrians around you, and obey the laws. If you see something dangerous, report it to the appropriate authorities," added Singletary.
The new class of troopers brings the total number in the state to 780. The graduation followed 21 weeks of preparation and training that began in January. They graduated from the Criminal Justice Academy on May 9 and continued on for specialized training from the Patrol in all areas of law enforcement, including DUI detection, traffic laws, collision investigation and the use of firearms, as well as three weeks of field training.
The new troopers still have another four to six weeks of field training after graduation.
"You have made an investment in the South Carolina Highway Patrol and we have made an investment in you," Col. Mike Oliver told the graduates. "You are our future ... the bridge from our past to our next generation. Thank you in advance for the sacrifices you will make to serve others."
Troopers are assigned to areas based upon population, calls for service, and the number of licensed drivers/registered vehicles in an area.