A fundraiser for Charleston County Deputy Mike Costanzo and his family has been established by Serve & Connect, a nonprofit that benefits families of fallen officers and those injured in the line of duty

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A fundraiser for Deputy Mike Costanzo and his family has been established by Serve & Connect, a nonprofit that benefits families of fallen officers and those injured in the line of duty.

Click Here to Contribute

Costanzo was seriously injured Wednesday when a passing vehicle crashed into his patrol car and a tow truck on the Don Holt Bridge. Both Costanzo and the tow truck driver were standing on the roadside at the time. The tow truck driver could not be found at the scene. Costanzo remains hospitalized.

Capt. Roger Antonio said this about Costanzo: “Mike is admired for his willingness to help citizens and co-workers, as he selflessly gives so much of his time to others. He is especially close to the students and staff at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School where he serves as a School Resource Officer.”

The Sheriffs’ Office appreciates the outpouring of support from our Charleston County community and others around the country and beyond. All proceeds from this fundraiser will make it to Deputy Costanzo and his family.

Additionally, anybody wishing to send correspondence or other items may send them to:

  • Charleston County Sheriff’s Office(attn: Deputy Mike Costanzo)
  • 3691 Leeds Avenue
  • North Charleston, SC 29405

South Carolina Ranked as 45th Worst State to Be a Police Officer in New Study

Source: WalletHub

Currently, there are over 900,000 uniformed police officers in the United States.? In the last 10 years, over 1500 have died in the line of duty including 143 in 2016.? This is a noble profession, but one that comes with high risk.? WalletHub just released a study on the best and worst states to be a police officer.?? Our own South Carolina ranked as the 45th worst state to be a police officer.

Below is the breakdown of the 50 states including methodology and analysis.

Methodology of Study

Ask the Experts

Best and Worst States to Be a Cop

Overall Rank State Total Score ‘Opportunity & Competition’ Rank ‘Job Hazards & Protections’ Rank ‘Quality of Life’ Rank
1 North Dakota 63.05 12 6 1
2 Connecticut 59.56 31 1 10
3 New York 58.57 2 25 12
4 Illinois 58.04 5 11 16
5 Minnesota 56.66 16 4 29
6 New Hampshire 56.29 48 5 2
7 New Jersey 55.32 6 8 34
8 Texas 54.50 3 27 21
9 Maine 54.13 49 2 19
10 South Dakota 54.01 38 13 4
11 Delaware 53.46 29 10 14
12 Rhode Island 52.73 43 3 25
13 Pennsylvania 52.13 9 15 37
13 Washington 52.13 18 12 33
15 Maryland 52.05 13 33 5
16 District of Columbia 51.93 1 48 22
17 Indiana 51.91 19 18 20
18 Hawaii 51.40 26 23 11
19 Massachusetts 51.27 17 9 41
20 Florida 51.19 40 21 8
21 California 50.86 8 28 31
22 Wisconsin 50.47 21 17 32
23 Virginia 49.84 11 14 47
24 Michigan 49.79 10 30 30
25 Vermont 48.95 41 7 40
26 Kansas 48.45 42 39 3
27 North Carolina 48.20 20 16 46
28 Utah 48.18 51 22 7
29 Wyoming 48.11 14 32 24
30 Colorado 47.98 7 43 23
31 Ohio 47.83 24 20 38
32 West Virginia 47.75 36 35 9
33 Iowa 47.56 23 29 27
34 Arizona 47.46 15 31 35
35 Montana 46.40 32 40 15
36 Oregon 46.16 44 24 26
37 Nevada 45.25 39 44 6
38 Oklahoma 44.78 28 46 13
39 Nebraska 44.15 27 36 36
40 Alabama 43.43 45 38 17
41 Mississippi 43.23 25 47 18
42 Idaho 43.05 47 19 43
43 Georgia 42.12 35 26 51
44 Missouri 41.72 34 34 42
45 South Carolina 40.44 37 42 39
46 Tennessee 38.49 30 45 48
47 Kentucky 38.46 50 36 44
48 New Mexico 38.06 4 50 45
49 Alaska 37.36 22 51 28
50 Arkansas 35.88 46 41 50
51 Louisiana 33.14 33 49 49

Charleston Illumination Project Report Now Available

Media Release:? Charleston Illumination Project Report Now Available


The mission of the Illumination Project was to further strengthen citizen/police relationships grounded in trust and legitimacy. Trust is a vital ingredient in all healthy relationships, especially one with the inherent tension of community safety (taking care of the “whole”) and individual rights (taking care of the “part”). Legitimacy speaks to a core element of the citizen and police relationship – police exercising their authority appropriately and citizens believing they are being treated fairly.

The Illumination Project is founded on the principles and practices of Polarity Thinking?, an approach uniquely designed to positively leverage this tension instead of it devolving into an unproductive debate and potentially, a dangerous situation. This approach enables people to transcend the all-too-typical either/or or win/lose arguments when they are actually dealing with situations in which both parties are right, or what we call both/and situations.

A five-phase process guided decisions and actions throughout the Illumination Project:

  1. Planning and developing the project: Laying the groundwork for the project’s success.
  2. Developing the steering and resource groups: Building the steering team leading the effort and the resource group that recruited people to participate in the process.
  3. Engaging the community: Creating opportunities for the public to contribute their ideas for improving citizen and police relationships.
  4. Evaluating the project: Measuring results, assessing impact and identifying lessons learned from the effort.
  5. Making the model available for the rest of the nation: Sharing the methods, tools and processes of the Illumination Project to cities across the country.

The heart of The Illumination Project has been the Listening Sessions, small group both/and conversations between citizens and police. The purpose of these conversations was to gather ideas about what both police and citizens could do to improve their relationship. Active and persistent marketing of the Listening Sessions was a key to their success. Print media, radio interviews, in-person recruiting at city social events and social media all played a part. A “Bringing the Illumination Project to You” approach of holding sessions for any group that would host one is one of many examples of making it easier for people to have their voices heard. This experience, uncommon for citizens when typically dealing with police, led to many more people attending the sessions.

The year–long and counting initiative led to broad-based support and engagement.

The 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan produced through The Illumination Project has five goals that closely align with recent National Studies in effective policing. Each goal has objectives, strategies and measures of success. Four strategies are already being implemented. The five goals are listed below.

Goal 1 | Different Cultures and Backgrounds: Develop better understanding between citizens and police of different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences to build mutually beneficial relationships.
Goal 2 | Respectful, Trusting Relationships: Build a mutually respectful, trusting relationship between citizens and police.
Goal 3 | Training Curriculum: Develop and implement a training curriculum to enhance citizen and police understanding of each other’s roles, rights and responsibilities.
Goal 4 | Policies and Procedures: Develop and use best practices to improve citizen and police relationships through policies and procedures.
Goal 5 | Community Policing*: Expand the concept of community-oriented policing in all segments of our community.

*Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.

C.O.P.S., U.S. Department of Justice

Within these five goals, 86 strategies were identified to improve citizen and police relationships grounded in trust and legitimacy. Of these 86 strategies, 66 came from citizen Listening Sessions, 12 from National Study recommendations and eight from the Charleston police staff. Identifying these strategies began with the 858 citizens participating in Listening Sessions prioritizing their own ideas. From that list the best ideas for police actions and citizen actions that would improve the relationship were suggested as priority ideas to the two leadership groups for the effort, the Citizen Steering Group and Community Resource Group (descriptions of the purpose and role for each group can be found on pages 17-18). Ten of these ideas were translated into strategies and recommended for immediate implementation in 2016. Public written comment sessions refined the highest priority ideas and the leadership groups endorsed these revisions.

Regarding research, community and police surveys were conducted to gather data. The data served as a benchmark for citizen and police attitudes that were used in developing the strategies and measures that have formed the foundation of the Strategic Plan.

We have learned many lessons from our work with The Illumination Project and look forward to sharing these with others.

Random Acts of Kindness in Charleston – Put a Smile on Someones Face

“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.” – Charlie Chaplin

Maybe it is the time of year or the nature of our warm Charleston culture, but giving back to the community and touching the lives of others is a feeling unlike any other. It brings life to an empty soul and revitalizes our compassion. Random acts of kindness are all around us from holding a door open, to giving spare change. We are all part of a continuous cycle of giving back; and part of the gift we call humanity.

Perhaps some of you are wondering how you can be a part of this wave of goodness. Here are a few ideas that you may want to consider.

  • Go to MUSC, Roper St. Francis or any of the other medical facilities in the Lowcountry and ask if there are any patients alone this holiday season that could use company. Sit with them, listen to their stories, hold their hand and remind them that there are people out there that care and none of us should ever be alone.
  • Remind your postal officer how important their job is and how much you appreciate them coming to you every day. Leave them a nice thank you card and/or a small box of chocolates/candy to show you gratitude for their incredible dedication. I know we don’t see much “snow” or”sleet”, but they are out there every day for us.
  • thank1Visit the tent city with a bag of supplies for our homeless. It doesn’t take a lot of money to bring some much needed supplies or a hot meal. You can even go the extra mile and sit down for a while. Spend a little time and get to know your neighbors. It is going to be almost 80 degrees out. Perfect time to be outside.
  • Buy a smoothie or coffee drink for a local police officer. 2015 in Charleston has been nothing short of frightening for so many local residents and our local law enforcement professionals are putting their lives at risk to ensure our safety. We live in a community where our children can play openly and we can feel comfortable saying hello to strangers. These men and women in uniform don’t always get the recognition they deserve. Walk up to a police officer, thank them for their service and offer to buy them a nice cold smoothie or coffee drink.
  • Be a Fields to Families Volunteer. Each year volunteers from all over the Lowcountry spend one day a weekend picking local fruits and vegetables from area farms and giving it to families that cannot afford food. Over 80,000 pounds of produce are distributed to local families a year. Adults and children work together in the fields, establishing bonds and doing and incredible gesture for the community; now that is Charleston.
  • If you have a genuine love for animals, Pet Helpers is always looking for caring volunteers in a number of areas. From cleaning cages to walking dogs, to adoptions services, Pet Helpers has committed itself to finding loving homes for our four-legged friends. Once you look into the eyes of these beautiful cats and dogs, you may never want to leave.


For of us that give throughout the year, thank you for all you do.

Top Charleston Stories of 2015

The prominent Mayor Riley
The prominent Mayor Riley

“This hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea that he would be able to divide, and all he did was make us more united, and love each other even more.” – Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley

Emanuel AME Shooting – Charleston is a city that has fought for decades to destroy the racial tensions that have divided this city and region. On the evening of June 17, 2015, this city took a giant step backward in our pursuit of unification and community acceptance when one man executed an act so heinous, without regard for human life that the entire world took notice. For the Summer of 2015, Charleston became the center of gun control and racial tension. In the heart of darkness, we found each other. Without regard of background or race, we bound together to show the world we will overcome and remain Charleston Strong. As the media built cases for gun control, dissected the mind of this killer and looked for answers to how this could happen, Charleston become a city that stood hand in hand and showed the power that love has over terror.

Surviving the flood

1000 Year Flood – The weekend of October 3, shook Charleston and South Carolina. A wave of rain that for many was unprecedented took control of our area and left us captive in our homes. For thousands, their homes stood nearly underwater. Property lost, memories destroyed, waves at record levels and no answers that could put so many at ease. With around the clock news coverage, volunteers in every city and town, and post event relief efforts from all around the country, we all lived through a moment of weakness, where once again, we were forced to rebuild; property and lives. Marshes became oceans, neighborhoods became lakes and for many, the only option was to wait and pray.

Walter Scott Shooting – On April 4, 2015, Walter Scott, a black suspect was shot and killed by North Charleston Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager, a white police officer. What made this event so spectacular is that it was captured on video and what was witnessed was a scared man brutally shot to death. A picture tells a thousand words, a video a million. No one will know exactly what all the circumstances were that led to this merciless death. In the spring of 2015, Charleston was center of national media attention, highlighting the evident racial concerns that still brew in this area. This event happened just days before the 150th anniversary of the end of the US Civil War.

Caitlyn The Dog – Just named by People Magazine as the Best Survival Story of 2015, Caitlyn become the post dog for animal cruelty prevention and awareness. Her story and the images of her treatment sent shivers down our spines and had the entire country routing for one precious dog. After many successful surgeries and a new and loving home, Caitlyn, runs and barks and shows incredible love and compassion for all that come to meet her.

Caitlyn is happy overlooking the water

Mayor Riley Steps Down As Mayor of Charleston – After 40 years as mayor and 47 years as a public servant in South Carolina, the honorable Joseph Riley Jr. will relinquish his seat to a new face and administration. Mayor Riley is an icon of impenetrable valor admired and respected throughout the Charleston community, the Democratic Party and the country. His legacy as the sixteenth longest running mayor in US History will carry on for generations to come.

Off Duty Night Shift Supervisor Lt. Will Rogers Shot in Moncks Corner – On May 14, 2015, an incident happened at an Exxon Station in Moncks Corner. Off duty police officer Will Rogers, in an attempt to talk down the assailant, and was shot several times in the head. After extensive surgery and physical therapy at MUSC, Mr, Rogers is recovering from the incident.

Citadel students image from Facebook

Citadel Students Dressed as Ku Klux Klan Sing Christmas Carols – Eight Citadel Students have been suspended and chants for the presidential dismissal are lingering in the air over images found on Facebook of Citadel Students singing Christmas carols in what appears to be Ku Klux Klan attire. This unprecedented event coming from one of the most respected public schools in the South, the alma mater of Mayor Riley and a city that has been scars from racial wounds throughout the year sent shivers through Charleston as the year came to a close.

Charleston Mayoral Election – Not since 1975, will the city of Charleston see a mayor other than Joseph Riley Jr. By Election Day of 2015, six honorable men and women stood, each representing a passion for Charleston and an agenda for change. By the end of the evening on Tuesday, November 3, we still did not have a decisive winner. With no one candidate receiving 50% of the popular vote, a vote-off would ensue two weeks later and the two remaining candidates would go head to head for this heralded seat. Leon Stavrinakas and John Tecklenburg would remain. After two weeks and two elections, John Tecklenburg stands alone as the Mayor-elect for Charleston, South Carolina.

Lost and defeated

The Citadel Defeats the University of South Carolina Gamecocks – As you looked at the proud faces of the young men that had just beaten the South Carolina Gamecocks, a once powerhouse of the SEC, you would think you were looking at a group of ten year old boys that just cracked a 100 pound pi?ata of candy. Their excitement as they danced in Columbia was a site to see. It was the reward of hard work, believing and a family spirit that led to this victory. On November 21, 2015, as the last second rang off that clock, the final score read, The Citadel 23 – USC 22 and for the first time in twenty-five years, the baby blue of The Citadel was the victor.

Unexpected Tornado Invades Johns Island – On September 25, 2015, an EF-2 tornado rolled through Johns Island leaving a devastating aftermath. Between 70 and 80 homes received damage from the event that sent shocked waves to the residents of this area. “When the [tornado] started roaring, it was absolutely terrifying,” John Bercik, a Sonny Boy Lane resident told Live 5 News. Fortunately, no lives were lost and the American Red Cross joined forces with local authorities to help families through this tragic natural disaster.

Aftermath of Johns Island tornado
Aftermath of Johns Island tornado