Washington, DC – The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey DeGrow of the Charleston County (SC) Sheriff’s Office as its Officer of the Month for May 2010.
"One week ago from today, my life was changed forever. After being shot six times it’s truly a miracle, and God’s grace, that I am still here today.” Those compelling words were spoken by Sheriff’s Deputy DeGrow just days after he was involved in a harrowing and heroic incident earlier this year.
On January 21, 2010, Deputy DeGrow was patrolling the area of James Island, South Carolina. Typical of his dedication and thoroughness, he was following up on a residential burglary that he had responded to earlier that morning. When he came upon five subjects walking down the road, they fled immediately upon seeing the deputy’s patrol car.
Deputy DeGrow quickly radioed dispatch and gave chase on foot to one of the subjects, who attempted to evade him by circling a house just off the road. With Deputy DeGrow in close pursuit, the subject circled the house twice. Rounding a corner, Deputy DeGrow was met with gunfire. He was shot once, directly below the right eye, by the suspect who lay in wait with the express intent of ambushing and executing the deputy. Deputy DeGrow immediately fell to the ground, dazed. The subject continued to fire on the downed officer, hitting him twice more in the head, twice in his right arm, and once in the left shoulder. Presumably out of ammunition, the gunman ran away.
“As I lay there I could feel the presence of God, and I knew in that moment that I was either leaving this earth or staying. I then had a sense that I was going to be all right and started coming out of the daze,” Deputy DeGrow recalled. He rolled to his back, drew his sidearm and quickly scanned the area for the suspect. As he got to his feet, he radioed dispatch again, alerting them that he had been shot and needed medical help immediately. Amazingly, Deputy DeGrow was able to describe the subject who had shot him and informed dispatch that he was going out to the road so that responding officers and medical personnel could find him more easily. Almost passing out a few times on the way back to his cruiser, Deputy DeGrow prayed and kept thinking of his two children.
Officers from the Charleston City (SC) Police Department and Deputy DeGrow’s fellow officers from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office were first to arrive on the scene. Deputy DeGrow asked one of his fellow officers to wipe the blood from his right eye. When it didn’t work he simply said, “All right guys, take my duty belt and my shirt and vest,” as medical personnel were arriving on scene. At the hospital, Deputy DeGrow underwent four hours of emergency surgery to repair the initial damage to his eye. When he awoke, he was surrounded by family, friends, co-workers and supporters.
In the letter nominating Deputy DeGrow for the Officer of the Month Award, his supervisors stated, “His calm demeanor in the wake of this violent assault and despite grave injury is, quite frankly, of legendary proportions. Jeff continued to perform his duties, until responding officers and emergency medical services arrived to take over the hunt for the subject, and begin to treat Jeff’s wounds. His bravery and courageous action directly affected the swift resolution of the case and subsequent arrest of his attacker.”
Deputy DeGrow began his law enforcement career in 2000 and joined the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office in 2003. He has been assigned to narcotics, street crimes and patrol, as well as serving as a Field Training Instructor and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member. He is a member of the Police Benevolent Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Located in the nation’s capital, the NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Deputy DeGrow, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2010, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2011 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s 2012 calendar.