The town of McColl will retire 361, the badge number of its longtime police chief, Tommy Langley, as a way to honor him and his years of service to the town he loved.
Langley, 57, died October 18 after a short illness, leaving behind family, friends, past and present colleagues, and a grateful community.
His law enforcement career spanned 30 years, beginning in 1987 with the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office. For the last 20 years, he served the town of McColl as its police chief.
Those who knew him remember his friendly, easygoing nature; his patience with everyone; and his fierce dedication to his officers and his town.
Bobby Odom, the current mayor of McColl, said: “The town of McColl lost so many people when we lost Tommy Langley. A police chief, a father, a son, a brother, a husband, a family member. Me....I lost a friend.”
Verd Odom, currently the McColl representative on Marlboro County Council and formerly mayor of McColl, recalled working with him in the 1990s: “Tommy developed a quiet demeanor about policing that followed him throughout his career and had a calming effect on every situation that he had to cope with. Our McColl community has truly lost everybody’s friend.”
Macky Norton, currently the McColl representative on the Marlboro County Board of Education and the retired principal of McColl Elementary/Middle School, said, “I can think of nothing but good things about him. He loved the town, from the children he cared about at the school to the seniors who, like my mom, worried him about a ‘possible problem in the neighborhood’.”
Officer Bob Hale had been a member of the McColl Police Department for only three months when Langley died, but said the impact the chief had on him was significant: “In that short amount of time, Chief immediately took me in and made me feel like family. I’ve been in law enforcement 10 years now and I’ve never witnessed a leader who loves his family and community as much. He told me when I first started that McColl is a small place, but if you treat the people here like family then they’ll do the same for you.”
Langley was laid to rest Sunday, October 22, with law enforcement honors.