Date: May 6, 2021
(By Lisa Garrett)
Major Darrell Hill Receives Distinguished Alumni Award
PENDLETON, SC --- Major Darrell Hill’s work ethic and his character have served him well over the last 32 years in law enforcement.
He is among the first members of the command staff to report for work at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and usually the last to leave for the day. “My job is extremely rewarding; it always has been,” said Major Hill, who joined the force on July 25, 1988. “I enjoy coming to work so much so that I come in when I should be off. I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was 15 years old. I love helping people.”
Major Hill received Tri-County Technical College’s 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award at the College’s spring convocation May 6.
The award, which highlights his dedication to his alma mater, was presented to him by TCTC President Galen DeHay.
The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from Tri-County; must have graduated at least one year ago; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association or the community.
“I’m grateful for this award. It means a lot because I’m so proud of my degree. It provided me with the skills set to be a successful officer,” said Major Hill, who in 1998 graduated with a degree in criminal justice.
He was hired at age 21 as a patrolman working rotating shifts and attending classes at Tri-County. He often spent his lunch hour in class. “It was worth it. I knew I needed the degree. My instructors were wonderful. They were former law enforcement officers who gave us valuable insight that only comes from those who have traveled that road.”
He says his Tri-County degree has made him a better officer, and today he applies the skills he learned in every class. “Education opened doors for me. The degree played a major role in my promotions. It takes hard work and dedication but it’s worth it.”
He remembers driving to classes on his lunch hour and/or getting off an often grueling shift and attending classes. “Instructors understood the rotating shift schedules in law enforcement. They were willing to work with me,” he said.
Five years later he was promoted to sergeant and then lieutenant and later captain. He moved to special operations when Sheriff Chad McBride was elected. Two years ago he assumed his current position as major of operations. He oversees uniform patrol, investigation, narcotics, SWAT, air patrol, marine and school resource officers, victim’s advocacy and warrants. He managed the crisis negotiation team for 16 years.
“Every day is different. It doesn’t get boring. I’m still constantly learning, regardless of the position,” he said.
He said instructors emphasized the importance of good communication skills and report writing, adding that documentation is key in his job.
Speech classes were helpful because he does a lot of public speaking on behalf of the department.
He continued his law enforcement training by completing the FBI training academy and is National Alliance on Mental Illness -certified.
In addition to law enforcement, sports and coaching have always been a passion of his. After graduating from T.L. Hanna High School, he received a partial scholarship from a junior college for cross country track but declined because it didn’t offer a criminal justice major. “I wanted to be a police officer and I chose Tri-County because of its outstanding criminal justice department,” he said.
He may have given up his cross country training, but his interest in sports never waned. Since the age of 14, the YMCA of Anderson served as a second home for Hill, who received a scholarship from the United Way to participate in YMCA sports. He credits much of his success to his coach Joe Drennon, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Anderson.
“We developed a bond which continues to this day. We talk daily. I named my youngest daughter, Drennon, after him. He taught us to respect people and to surround yourself with people who will make you better. Give more than you take to make society better. When I was promoted to my current position, he was the first person I called.”
Today Major Hill pays it forward by serving on the YMCA Board and through volunteering his time at the YMCA as a coach for basketball and soccer.
“It’s very rewarding to have such an impression on these kids. I see myself in them. I know that I am positively influencing hundreds a year through camps and other activities,” he said.
He was awarded the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association Heroes Award for his dedication and volunteer service through his leadership of area youth sports programs.
He serves on the Meals on Wheels board and is a former Habitat for Humanity board member.
He has been a member of the Fraternal Order of Police for more than 20 years.
“I’ve met great people along the way who have helped me and I’m most appreciative. I try to model myself by other mentors, like the late Judge Carl Anderson, whom I considered a colleague and a friend. He had a reputation for being fair. His philosophy was to feed everybody with the same spoon. And your attitude reflects your aptitude.
“This is a great career. It’s a job I can be proud of. I’ve been better than blessed.”
About Tri-County Technical College
Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, industrial electronics, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit tctc.edu.