Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen was honored Friday with the highest recognition in Rotary for his service to the community.
The Rotary Club of Charleston – Breakfast hosted Mullen as a guest speaker at the Harbour Club, where he was named a Paul Harris Fellow. The recognition honors individuals who embody the principles of Harris, Rotary’s founder.
The award came as a surprise for Mullen, who wiped away tears as Mayor John Tecklenburg lauded him as a fine police chief and an “incredible man.”
“What you find out when you work with him is that he has the heart and the passion for community, for Charleston,” Tecklenburg told the crowd.
Mullen, who spoke about the challenges law enforcement officers face across the nation, said he accepts the award on behalf of all 458 sworn Charleston police officers who build relationships with residents daily. He said it’s important to him that his officers are acknowledged for their work in the community.
“It’s an emotional time to be in law enforcement ... from one day to the next, you see tragedy happening all over the world,” Mullen told reporters. “And clearly, it’s a time where things are happening that touch the core of your being.”
He took time to highlight the strides officers and community members have accomplished together, such as the many connections formed through the Illumination Project.
Mullen said the award is one of the most prestigious he has received, “simply because it is coming from the people that I and my officers work hard every day to provide a service to.”
Mullen took the helm of the department in 2006.
Reach Angie Jackson at 843-937-5705. Follow her on Twitter at @angiejackson23.