CUPD announces promotions and new swear-ins among staff additions
CLEMSON — In its summer quarterly meeting late Thursday afternoon, the Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) welcomed several new officers and announced an internal promotion in a ceremony led by Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police Greg Mullen.
“We believe it’s important from the very beginning that an officer’s family understands the meaning behind his or her association with us,” Mullen explained to those in attendance, which included current staff members in addition to families and guests of the newest officers. “You are their support system when they are away from us. I am so thankful people like the individuals we are swearing in and promoting have joined our team. We are committed to be as safe as we can possibly be through our training and how we interact with our community to foster trust in what we do.”
Greg Whitaker, announced as Clemson’s new deputy chief of police earlier this week, was among those initiated Thursday. He previously spent time alongside Mullen in the City of Charleston (S.C.) Police Department.
Also joining the department by way of another law enforcement agency was Lt. Benji Ross, who will take over as commander of CUPD’s patrol division. Ross was most recently a sergeant in Anderson County for the South Carolina Highway Patrol, his home since July 1999. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a criminal justice concentration from Clemson.
Ross had heard positive reviews about the department from a longtime friend who recently joined CUPD over the last few months. After looking further into it, he decided to pursue the opportunity to return to his alma mater.
“Clemson has grown by leaps and bounds,” Ross said. “I’ll be working out of our Douthit Hills substation, which is a completely different area than what it was 20 years ago. My time as an undergrad were four of the best years of my life and I’m absolutely thrilled to be back.”
Mullen also announced an internal promotion by elevating Amy Cobb to a sergeant within the patrol division. Cobb joined CUPD in December 2017 as an officer on the alpha shift. Cobb’s career has included multiple stints in law enforcement as well as 21 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserves and with the Louisiana Army National Guard. She was a military police officer and achieved the rank of E-7 (sergeant first class) while serving deployments to Iraq in 2004-05 and 2010.
Cobb invited her parents to Thursday’s ceremony and asked her father — who achieved an E-6 rank in the Army National Guard — to pin her new badge.
“It was (emotional) because I spent a year overseas on my first deployment and nine months the second time,” Cobb said of her father’s presence. “It meant a lot for both of my parents to be here.”
Kendall Cash joined CUPD as a sergeant within the patrol division Thursday, and he was joined by new officers Andy Gajadhar, Kevin Ozment, Kirk Talley and Sharon Horgan. The entire group swore an oath to support and defend the constitutions of the United States of America and State of South Carolina. They also swore the law enforcement oath of honor.
NEW OFFICER BIOS
-Former member of the Anderson County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Office (2015-19) and Spartanburg Police Department (2014-15)
-Earned bachelor’s degree from USC Upstate in criminal justice in May 2013
-Distinguished record of service includes time as a security officer and supervisor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and LaGuardia Airport in New York City
-Earned bachelor’s degree in communication arts and master’s degree in criminal justice leadership from St. John’s University
-Enjoyed a long stint with the Athens-Clarke County (Ga.) Police Department from 2004-17
-Most recently worked for the Toccoa (Ga.) Police Department
-Served as a fire department captain in the City of Greensboro (N.C.) from 1992-2019
-Sister-in-law, Emily Watrous, is Clemson’s chief human resources officer
-Member of South Carolina Highway Patrol from 1999-2019
-Anderson County Trooper of the Year in 2001
-Member of the Pickens County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Office from 2015-19
-Earned bachelor’s degree in sociology from Clemson in May 2015