Friday, February 3, 2012; News 12 at 6 o'clock
He had not even been on the job a week when Aiken Department of Public Safety Chief Charles Barranco's police scanner alerted him that something was very wrong. It was 7:30 last Saturday morning. Master Corporal Sandy Rogers was on patrol when she responded to a suspicious vehicle.
She was met with gunfire.
Just a few hours later, Joshua Jones was arrested for the shooting. Later that night in a news conference, Chief Barranco confirmed the worst; Officer Rogers did not survive.
But he promised the department and community would. He choked back tears as he thanked Aiken for its overwhelming support.
Now, he'd like to thank the community yet again. I sat down with him for his first interview since Officer Rogers was shot and killed in the line of duty. It was also his first interview as chief. He doesn't even have pictures on the wall in his office yet. He was going to hang those Saturday, but Saturday morning, he heard something that changed everything.
Meredith: You heard the call.
Chief Barranco: Yes.
Meredith: Someone didn't pick up the phone and call you at home. You heard officer down.
Chief Barranco: I did.
Meredith: How long after the shooting did you get there? 5, 10, 15 minutes? Before the ambulance got there? How fast did you get there?
Chief Barranco: I don't know the exact time, but I was probably the fourth or fifth car that got to the scene. The ambulance had not arrived yet, but was on its way.
Meredith: Was she conscious?
Chief Barranco: I'll be honest. I didn't go all the way up. They told me who it was, how serious it was, and immediately I started trying to get resources to us.
Meredith: I've heard the scanner traffic of when they realized there was an officer down and then the pursuit ensued.
Chief Barranco: I haven't gone back and listened to it. I heard it live, and knowing the men and women of this department, I knew what they were going to do, and that's exactly what they did. The professionalism was incredible.
Meredith: Were you the one to go to Sandy's family?
Chief Barranco: I went with two other command staff members. Sandy and her family are all part of our family and we had to get them together to get the info necessary to keep them informed.
Meredith: To face the community who had been following this all day, that something had happened and it was serious...how hard was that?
Chief Barranco: This community is part of Aiken Public Safety, and it was very difficult to stand up there. But did you notice how many people were standing behind me?
Meredith: Were you there (for Joshua Jones' bond hearing)?
Chief Barranco: No I was not.
Meredith: So you haven't seen him face to face? You haven't been in the same room as him?
Chief Barranco: No.
Meredith: Is there anything you'd like to say to him if you had him to yourself for a few minutes?
Chief Barranco: No, again taking care of the Aiken Department of Public safety and the family here is our focus and continues to be our focus.
Meredith: What do you need from the community going forward?
Captain Barranco: Continued support. We'd have to be here for two or three days to be able to explain all the examples of the outpouring of support for the Aiken Department of Public Safety, the Rogers family, and this city from this community...this wonderful community.
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