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SCDPS Names STP Officer of the Year; Recognizes Eight New Graduates

Fri, 12/11/2020

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announced its 2019 State Transport Police Officer of the Year and recognized eight new STP officers on December 11, 2020. A division of the Department of Public Safety, STP is primarily responsible for enforcing state and federal laws governing commercial motor vehicles.

Six officers were recognized for exemplary work during 2019:

Region One: L/Cpl. Thomas S. Starling

Region Two: L/Cpl. Eric L. Abney

Region Three: OFC Charles J. Holcombe

Region Four: Officer Preston R. Kirk

Region Five: L/Cpl. Jeffrey W. Haigler

Region Six: OFC Brandon R. DeWeese


Overall Winner, STP Officer of the Year

Region Six: OFC Brandon R. DeWeese


STP Officer of the Year
STP Col. Dean Dill, L/Cpl. Starling, L/Cpl. Abney, OFC Holcombe, Off. Kirk, L/Cpl. Haigler, OFC DeWeese, Maj. D.D. Wilson


The State Transport Police also welcomed eight new officers to their ranks during Friday’s ceremony.

The STP graduates include:

Officer Joseph C. O’Brien, Hometown: Ladson, SC; Assignment: Region 6

Officer Brandon N. Brierley, Hometown: Gilbert, SC; Assignment: Region 1

Officer Leonza R. Carter, Hometown: Florence, SC; Assignment: Region 5

Officer William M. Foster, Hometown: Aiken, SC; Assignment: Region 1

Officer Pedro J. Merizalde, Hometown: Lexington, SC; Assignment: Region 1

Officer Barry M. Patrick, Hometown: Timmonsville, SC; Assignment: Region 5

Officer Morgan W. Taylor, Hometown: Gilbert, SC; Assignment: Region 1

Officer Joseph L. Wylie, Hometown: Summerville, SC; Assignment: Region 6


**Photos on Flickr: 2020 STP Graduation and Officer of the Year | Flickr


STP Graduates
STP graduates: First Row: Off. Patrick, Off. Foster, Off. Merizalde, Off. O’Brien. Second row: L to R: Off. Carter,
Off. Wylie, Off. Brierley, Off. Taylor.


“We are pleased to welcome these State Transport Police graduates who have undergone intensive training on both state and federal regulations concerning commercial motor vehicles,” said SCDPS Director Robert G. Woods, IV. “We also had the opportunity to recognize the exemplary work of our STP Officer of the Year recipients who have dedicated themselves to trucking safety and collision prevention.”

These officers of STP Basic 19-B have attended and graduated from Basic Training at the Criminal Justice Academy and have been trained in all areas of commercial motor vehicle safety, including basic law enforcement; size and weight enforcement; hazardous materials regulations; conducting safety inspections; and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The total training time for a new STP officer is typically around six months.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen firsthand how vital the trucking industry is to moving goods and necessities through our state,” said State Transport Police Col. Dean Dill. “STP’s goal is to facilitate the smooth flow of commercial motor vehicle traffic, while working hard to ensure the safety of commercial motor vehicle traffic and educate motorists about sharing the road with CMVs.”

STP has 94 officers who, in 2019, conducted 46,460 inspections that resulted in 11,323 out-of-service violations and 24,394 commercial motor vehicle citations.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame. Our mission is to ensure public safety by protecting and serving the people of South Carolina and its