Court officers pay tribute to ‘cop of the cop’ for 50 years of service
Lowell Griffin recalled from his earliest days as a first responder that a familiar State Highway Patrol soldier was a welcome sight at the scene of a car accident.
“It was over 30 years ago, before I joined law enforcement, when I was even a young firefighter, and we were still responding to traffic accidents,” he said. “As soon as we had taken care of the patients and the chaos of the accident was over, we would take position and help ease traffic so the soldiers could actually get in and do their job and clear the road. .
“Every time I saw David come, it was like a comfort because of (how) the audience can be when he’s passing and how talkative he can be,” he continued. “When we were there, if anything happened, David always had his back.
Time has passed since the days when Griffin, who began his public service as a volunteer firefighter as a teenager, and Private McMurray crossed paths on the country roads in Edneyille. Three decades later, Griffin is Sheriff of Henderson County and McMurray is finally retired from law enforcement.
The sheriff hosted a retirement reunion for a lawman at the sheriff’s office in honor of his 50 years of service – in the United States Marine Corps, Highway Patrol, conducting basic law enforcement training law enforcement at the DCRO and finally serving in the sheriff’s office as a firearms training officer.
A graduate of East Henderson High School and Western Carolina University, McMurray was training to become a Marine Corps officer in 1972-73. He “was ready to go on active duty and they announced they were withdrawing from Vietnam and didn’t want us anymore even though I was so far in my training,” he said.
Given the precipitous drop in demand for officers, the Marine Corps gave young recruits the option of an honorable option. McMurray accepted the offer and joined the Highway Patrol, scouring the roads, stopping speeders and responding to car accidents from 1973 to 2003.
“He was always someone who was always grounded, who never forgot where he came from,” Griffin said. “He was always this cop’s cop. If David was there, you knew he had your back. In fact, he and I have stood side by side on occasion and been shouted at by a superior and he has been there with me while it was happening.