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BPS officers recreate photo 25 years after graduating from the academy

Thu, 05/02/2024

BPS officers recreate group photo

In recreating a 25-year-old photo from their days at the academy, four Bureau of Protective Services officers reflected on what has — and hasn’t — changed through the years.

For Chief Matthew Calhoun, Lieutenant Darren Coleman, Lieutenant Luis Morales, and Master Officer Michael Hydrick, the idea was to have a memento from their final days at the SC Criminal Justice Academy before they started their careers as BPS officers in 1999.  

“It just kind of came together,” said Coleman, who took the lead in getting the picture made. “There was a photography studio close to the academy, so we all decided to schedule a date close to our graduation. We went and had the photo done.”

The four officers and friends were discussing the photo recently and trying to determine if anyone still had their copy. Morales remembered placing his in a folder in his office “many years ago.” Surprisingly, it was still there.

“We are much older now than we were before,” he chuckled. “But we’re still in the same department and working together.”

The only BPS officers in their basic law enforcement class, Coleman and Calhoun were roommates at the academy, as were Morales and Hydrick. They knew before even graduating that Calhoun would one day be Chief of Police for BPS.

“Calhoun told us, ‘I’m going to be Chief of this place one day,’” Coleman recalled. “And we were like, ‘Yeah, right. Whatever.’ That was kind of our joke. Then he ended up taking this place and running with it, making it what it is today.”

Calhoun chuckled, but said being chief was always a goal of his.

“I always had aspirations to lead and figure out where I belonged in an organization,” he said. “From the start, I saw where there were opportunities in the department to move up, effect change, and influence people. I wanted to make this organization bigger and better, and I feel like we’ve accomplished some of that.”

 As the men have raised families of their own over the years, they found that their lives at BPS were more conducive to having a home life.

“We were a lot younger then, and since then my family has really grown,” Hydrick said. “One of the reasons I took this job was to be able to spend a lot of time with them. I’ve got four grandchildren now, and all three of my children are married. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, and I wouldn’t change anything.”

The past 25 years have brought a number of changes to BPS, the State House, and beyond. Morales noted how far BPS has come with its manpower and resources.

“We are more specialized than ever before,” he said. For Morales, one of the most significant changes at BPS was the result of something that happened hundreds of miles away.

“It’s not my favorite day, but 9/11 was when we all came together as an agency,” he said. “There were a lot of things around as far as security that we had to implement, so that was a significant moment for us.”

Hydrick is especially proud of the friendships he has fostered with legislators and governors while keeping them safe over the years.

“It’s a good feeling to run into one of the previous governors and they know your name,” he said. “They’ll come up and shake your hand, or the kids will come up and give you a hug.”

For Calhoun, the more momentous aspects of the job have been the people they’ve met and events they have witnessed at the State House. From protests spanning the political spectrum, to celebratory rallies, to presidential visits and state funerals, there is rarely a dull — or short — day at the State House.

“The days are long, but the weeks, months, and years seem short,” he said. “We’re right on the cusp of 25 years, and all the work that has gone in over the past 25 years is something for us all to be proud of.”