Captain Michael “Mickey” Coats received the award Tuesday from the 2016 recipient, Tyrone Goggins of the Clinton Department of Public Safety. Sheriff Don Reynolds called Coats “the glue” that held together LCSO during its transition from the Chastain administration following last year’s elections.
“It is an honor. I don’t come to work for the recognition, but it feels good. It lets you know you’re doing a good job,” Coats said. “We had to keep the office going for the citizens of Laurens County. It was a change, but we had to do what we’re supposed do, keep it going for the public.”
“We all have problems to deal with. Then, these officers have to go out there every day and deal with other people’s problems,” Reynolds said. “He’s the glue that held the place together, and Mickey is a great family man.”
Coats was nominated for the award along with Laurens Police Officer Ben Gallo and Catherine Anderson of the Clinton Department of Public Safety.
Coats is a captain with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and has been with the sheriff’s office for more than 16 years. Nominating his officer, Reynolds said, “Mickey often gives of his time and talents above and beyond what is required of him” and Coats is “very active in his community and church.”
Nominated by his peers, Gallo has been employed with the City of Laurens Police Department since 2015. Chief Sonny Ledda said Gallo “has the calm and decision making abilities of a more seasoned officer and that he “gives back to the community by coaching soccer, basketball and baseball through the YMCA.”
Officer Gallo said that he “decided to follow (my) parents’ footsteps and become a police officer so that I could make a difference.”
Anderson has 20 years of service in law enforcement. She started working with the SC Highway Patrol in 1982, and joined with the Clinton Department of Public Safety as a reserve officer in 2005, moving to full-time in 2007.
Director of Public Safety Robin Morse said, “Ask anyone in the community about Lt. Anderson and they will tell you she is stern but fair, calls everyone ‘Pooky,’ and is well liked. She also speaks at churches and women’s conferences.”
Chosen during Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Week, Officer of the Year is sponsored by several local churches and businesses within the community.
Tuesday’s observance was held at the Laurens County Higher Education Center, with lunch catering by Chik-fil-A. Brief talks, bagpipes and the playing of “Taps,” an officers’ memorial table, and video, “The Policeman,” based on a Paul Harvey radio commentary also were included in the law enforcement program.