By Barney Blakeney
Like the sand in an hourglass, so too are the days of our lives. Retiring Charleston Deputy Police Chief Jerome Taylor thinks of the new phase of his life in much the same way as the sand in an hourglass passing from one vessel into another. He considers his January 3 retirement as moving to another season.
Taylor has been a member of Charleston Police Department for 47 years, longer than many of the men who serve under have been alive. Those 47 years represent only a glimpse into the life of the man who grew up in North Charleston’s Liberty Hill community and graduated from Bonds Wilson High School. He served in the military, a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer. He’s a dedicated family man, married with four daughters. He’s committed to his faith, a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is dedicated to the Sons of Allen.
The press release prepared by the police department outlines his involvement in various activities. It too offers a glimpse of the man. It reads:
“He has served the police department and the Charleston community as Interim Chief of Police, Commander of Operations Bureau, Commander of Special Operations Bureau, Commander of Central Investigations Division, Commander of Uniform Patrol, Deputy Bureau Commander of Administrative Services, and SWAT Team Commander. He has also served as an Assessor with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and previously served as Vice Chairman of the City of Charleston Employee’s Grievance Committee. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of One80 Place and previously served on the Trident Urban League Board of Directors.
“Deputy Chief Taylor has received numerous awards and recognitions for his good work for community improvements including: 2019 South Carolina National Action Network Triumph Award (NAN), Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Mu Alpha Chapter Scroll of Honor, Beta Mu Sigma Chapter Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated Social Action Award, 2019 Emanuel 9 Commendation Award for response actions regarding act of Domestic Terrorism June 17, 2015 at Mother Emanuel AME Church. He also was honored by South Carolina House of Representatives for outstanding community and public service.
“He is a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer who served in Vietnam, Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He continues to serve in the naval reserves. Deputy Chief Taylor is a member of Charleston Chapter NAACP, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Mu Alpha Chapter. Prince Hall Masonic affiliations are Lily Work Lodge #10, Past Master, and George Washington Carver Consistory #162. In 2007 he achieved 33 of Free Masonry, Grand Inspector General, Robert B. Elliott #1, Holy Royal Arch Masons Past High Priest, Honorary Past Grand High Priest Prince Hall Grand Chapter Holy Royal Arch Masons of South Carolina 2018, J.W. Dowling Chapter #5 Knights Templar and Progressive Chapter #310 Order of Eastern Star, Past Patron.
“He is a graduate of Bonds-Wilson High School and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Southern Illinois University and a Master Degree in Management from Webster University. He’s also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy and has attended numerous workshops on the topic of “Conflict Resolution and Cultural Diversity.” All of that tells a lot about the man, but those who know him realize there is much more to him.
Just as he has flowed like sand from one aspect of his life to another, Taylor says he continues to be inspired by the giants whom he considers himself unworthy of being cast in the same light – Harry Smith, Joseph Wong, Melvin Simmons, Fred Stroble and others. Because of their inspiration and example of unceasing service to their community, Taylor says he doesn’t see himself riding off into the sunset of retirement. He’s had to reinvent himself every decade of his law enforcement career. Though he has no immediate plans, that will continue, he said. Instead of looking backward, he’ll continue looking forward.