From NYPD to LCSD: A New Journey as a School Resource Officer

Transitioning from “the city that never sleeps” to a laid-back southern town is a significant shift, but for former NYPD officer Rob McGrath, it has been the change he hoped for. After dedicating more than two decades to the New York City Police Department, McGrath decided to move to South Carolina and join the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. His story has been about adapting to a slower pace of life, fostering community relationships and finding new ways to serve and protect.

Embracing a New Life in South Carolina

McGrath’s decision to relocate was heavily influenced by friends and former colleagues who had made similar moves.

“I’ve had a lot of friends that I’ve worked with over the years when I was in New York with the NYPD,” McGrath said. “On social media, I asked people where I should move for a warmer climate and a different way of life. Everyone said, ‘South Carolina! Come to Lexington, come to Chapin.’”

After visiting the area with his wife and exploring the neighborhoods, McGrath knew he had found their new home. The charm of Lexington County, with its excellent schools and friendly communities, won them over.

“Since we’ve moved here, we’ve found that in New York, everything is ‘hurry up, let’s go…’, and here in Lexington, it’s very reserved, laid back, and things are more spread out. Everyone says hello and they actually mean it. It’s a welcomed pace,” McGrath said.

A Storied Career with the NYPD

McGrath’s career with the NYPD began in July 2001, just two months before the 9/11 attacks

“I was automatically thrown into policing with the 9/11 attacks. I was assigned there for a little over a month doing all different hours and assignments,” McGrath explained.

This start to his career shaped and prepared him for various roles within NYPD, from patrolling the streets to tracking stolen cars and tackling narcotics cases. He eventually rose to the rank of sergeant and later found himself at headquarters, working directly with the Police Commissioner.

Reflecting on his time in New York, McGrath emphasized the unique energy of the city. 

“New York is a special place. It can be ‘let’s go, hurry up’, or it can be ‘just take in the sights,’” McGrath said. “You see so many different people. New York is a wonderful place. I love it, but at this point in my life, South Carolina is much nicer.”

Adapting to the Work Culture in the South

Transitioning from the NYPD, a force of 36,000 officers, to LCSD with about 500 total employees, was a significant adjustment. The smaller size allows for deeper community connections and more thorough investigations.

“You have a little bit more time to get to know the person you are interacting with… there’s not rushing from place to place,” McGrath said. 

Impacting Young Lives as a School Resource Officer

McGrath’s current role as a school resource officer, often referred to as an SRO, allows him to interact closely with the youth in his community, a responsibility he cherishes. 

“I always liked to interact with people, especially younger people,” McGrath said. “Younger people are trying to make their way in the world so you are trying to interact with them and show them that cops are not bad people and we are here to do our job.” 

His presence in the schools helps build positive relationships between students and law enforcement; fostering trust and respect.

A Message to Fellow Officers

For those considering a move to the Lexington County area or seeking a career change, McGrath’s advice is clear: “Do it. It’s worth it. It’s a whole different world.” 

McGrath feels incredibly grateful for his time in law enforcement, especially now that he can enjoy the slower pace and strong sense of community.

“I served 21 years in New York. Most people do 21 years and then they retire. I love my job. I love the NYPD. I love what I’m doing now. There’s not another career where it’s so beneficial to you to work.”

To anyone contemplating a role as an SRO, McGrath says you won’t “find a more beneficial, heartwarming job than working as an SRO. The good days will far outnumber the bad. You cannot have a better feeling than getting to help a child or help an adult. These kids will not forget you. They will remember you.”

McGrath’s journey from the NYPD to LCSD is a testament to the rewarding opportunities that come with embracing change. 

If you are interested in learning more about being part of a team making a significant impact in the Lexington County community, check out our current job opportunities. Any questions about qualifications or our application process, please contact us.