While most of us recognize Feb. 2 as Groundhog Day, in Lexington County, Feb. 2 is celebrated in a unique way– Shadow Day. For the past 12 years, Shadow Day has been dedicated to giving middle and high school students from Lexington County schools a firsthand look into the world of law enforcement and officers at the LCSD Training Center. 

The Day Unfolds:

On Feb. 2, 2024, approximately 70 students from local schools seized the opportunity to get a glimpse into the careers of Lexington County Sheriff’s Department deputies. The day kicked off with a welcome from Sheriff Jay Koon, setting the tone for an immersive experience. Students were then divided into groups, providing them with the chance to rotate through different department teams, including Crime Scene Investigators and the Public Information Office. Along with this, a special presentation and orientation with the K-9 Unit was a highlight within the Shadow Day schedule.

“Students are our future,” Sheriff Koon said. “They’re an important and valuable resource we should protect and nourish. That’s what Shadow Day is all about. Equipping tomorrow’s leaders today.” 

 Educational Significance: 

The importance of Shadow Day lies in its ability to cater to diverse learning styles. 

“For a young person, it is easy to come in and be a visual learner as well as an audible learner. Not everyone learns the same way… this opportunity gives them a path of understanding of what direction they want to go into and might interest them,” Sgt. Lee Barrett said. 

Shadow Day serves as a platform for students to witness the diversity among Lexington County Sheriff’s Department careers and how the team seamlessly operates as one agency. 

Community Partnership and Opportunities:

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department takes pride in being a community partner and extending the opportunity of Shadow Day to students who may not have alternative options. Sgt. Barrett emphasizes the avenues for education and partnerships with local schools, which highlight LCSD’s goals to ignite interest in law enforcement careers, fostering a sense of service and community engagement. 

Recruiter Sgt. Dan Rusinyak reminds students that being a law enforcement officer is about more than just financial rewards– it’s a commitment to public service. By opening its doors to students, LCSD strives to share the rewarding nature of a career in law enforcement, emphasizing the flexibility to serve the community while planting roots in Lexington.

Seeding Opportunities at 18:

With some students nearing 18 years old, Shadow Day becomes a pivotal experience.

Sgt. Barrett underlines the importance of instilling a young mindset, providing an early glimpse into the world of law enforcement. The need for detention deputies at LCSD creates a tangible opportunity for students to join the force immediately after high school, potentially earning up to $50,000 a year and retiring after 28 years of service to the county. 

A Call to Action:

Sgt. Barrett encourages students to “be an open-minded person when you visit the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. This is not for everybody, and we realize that. This is why we want to allow those to see it.”

If you are passionate about making a positive impact and a career in law enforcement resonates with you, consider applying today to join the LCSD community. Embrace the opportunity to be part of a community that goes beyond a job, offering a fulfilling and impactful career.