Laurens County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Farrah Cook cradled the plaque identifying her as the county’s Officer of the Year and was asked how it all felt.
She carefully measured her response for a beat.
“It’s one of my greatest accomplishments,” she said.
“It’s a blessing to help people,” she said.
“I’m just overwhelmed that they selected to me to be Officer of the Year,” said the Waterloo native, mother and 10-year veteran with the LCSO.
Cook was presented the award Tuesday at The Ridge at Laurens during the annual Officer of the Year luncheon. She became the first woman to win the award since its inception four years ago, following Clinton Lt. Tyrone Goggins, LCSO Capt. Mickey Coats and Laurens Police Investigator J.C. Brewington, who was last year’s winner. The award is presented annually during National Police Week in mid-May.
Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said Cook and her peers are the future of law enforcement in the county.
“These guys and gals have a very dangerous and demanding job that isn’t often looked at it as it should be,” said Reynolds. “I was happy to see her win because she deserves it. She is a dedicated, true professional.”
Cook was selected for the countywide honor over LPD Capt. Heath Copeland and Clinton Police Lt. Phillip Wicker, who were named officers of the by their respective agencies.
“I know these guys, and they work hard just like I do,” Cook said. “They deserve this as much as I do, and they pull their weight every day just like I do.”
Cook began her career with the LCSO in security at the Johnson Detention Center and has worked her way through the ranks, first as a patrol officer and now as an investigator.
Though standing only 5-foo-2, she said it has always been important for her to “pull her weight” in what has historically been a man’s field.
“Being a woman, a lot of guys will say, ‘let me do that,’” she said. “But I say, “I signed up for this, and I’ll pull my weight.’ They’d carry me if I needed to be carried, but I’ll pull my weight.”
Cook said the reasons she began a career in law enforcement are the same as they are now as she enters her second decade on the job.
“We have victims who have been violated and are hoping for some kind of justice, and that’s why I got into this – to help them get justice,” she said.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright was the keynote speaker for the luncheon and told the more than 100 people – most of them law enforcement officials – gathered at The Ridge.
“The thing about being a cop is, it’s not about your, and it’s not about us,” Wright said. “It’s about being the hands and feet of Jesus. That’s what we are.”