The fifth annual Allen Jacobs Memorial honored the memory of fallen Greenville County officers in a ceremony on BJU campus on Thursday, March 18.
The memorial has traditionally been in the form of a prayer breakfast attended by impacted families, local law enforcement and criminal justice upperclassmen. Because of the complications surrounding providing a community indoor meal while following COVID-19 protocols, the memorial was shifted to an outdoor event. Due to inclement weather, the memorial was changed Tuesday to an indoor ceremony in Rodeheaver Auditorium.
In honor of the event, thin blue line flags have been flown on front campus at the suggestion of a student, the fountain lights were turned blue and a City of Greenville Police cruiser, with license plates honoring the late Officer Allen Jacobs, was parked as a static display behind God’s Glory Garden in front of Rodeheaver Auditorium. The ceremony Thursday morning included the laying of a wreath, the presence of the Greenville Police Department Honor Guard and a bagpipes performance of “Amazing Grace” by Jay Bopp, chair of the Division of Art + Design.
The memorial began as a tribute to the sacrifice of Greenville County Officer Allen Jacobs, who was killed in the line of duty five years to the day before Thursday’s event. Jacobs attended Bob Jones Academy and was the son of BJU faculty members Drs. Don and Tammie Jacobs.
The Allen Jacobs Memorial has since honored other fallen officers in the upstate law enforcement who risk their safety for the sake of the community. A year following Jacobs’ untimely death, South Carolina State Trooper Daniel Keith Rebman was killed in a traffic collision while on duty, and in Ocober 2020, Greenville County Sgt. Conley Jumper was killed during a traffic stop when a suspect attempted to flee in a vehicle.
Public Safety Employee of the Year, Award of Merit, Award of Distinguished Achievement and the Allen Jacobs Award of Valor are awards that have previously been given each year to local officers. The event is also an opportunity for funds to be pledged in scholarship support for students studying criminal justice. Thousands of dollars have been donated to the fund in the past five years as a result of the Jacobs’ desire to support students entering a similar field as their son.
Randy Page, chief of staff, said it is BJU’s honor to be a community encouragement to the county and state law enforcement divisions and state highway patrol, all of whom have a good partnership with BJU through the public safety department. “Anyone who’s involved in law enforcement will say it’s not just about one person, it’s about us as a family, as a team,” Page said.
Page said he has been moved to tears by officers who express their sincere gratitude for the memorial event. “The way I look at it,” Page said, “what Bob Jones [University] does is so little compared to what they do for us, so I have been really kind of floored by their reaction.”
Page said there are multiple opportunities for Christians to show appreciation for those who make sacrifices for others, extending even beyond law enforcement and into personal life. “I think in this day and age, we don’t say thank you enough,” Page said. “Whether we’re thinking about the military, whether we’re thinking about our pastors, whether we’re thinking about our faculty [or] anybody whom we interact with, each person is making a sacrifice of some sort.”
Abby White, who was a public relations assistant to Page shortly after she graduated from BJU in 2015, said she remembers the organization of Jacobs’ yearly memorial. “It was a great outreach for Bob Jones [University] to do, to express their care for the community and their ability to reach beyond its walls and partner with local law enforcement,” White said. “It is by far the thing that I have done that I am most proud of and most honored to have been a part of, one of the most touching events I’ve ever gotten to [participate in.]”