I Spy Someone making a difference.
Amy Clum receives law enforcement 'friend' awardby Russell Alston
When Amy Clum first heard she would be receiving an award from the state, her initial reaction was “For what?” A normal response, perhaps, but for Clum it was genuine surprise. “I didn’t even know I was nominated for an award,” says Clum, a dispatcher for the Department of Public Safety at Coastal Carolina University. “I was shocked that the state would be honoring me.”
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association recently awarded Clum with its "Friend of Law Enforcement Award," a statewide recognition intended to honor Clum’s “continued effort as an intern and volunteer at the Conway Police Department.” She is the third recipient of the trophy, which was presented at the Marriot Grande Dunes this past November.
She was nominated for the award by Conway Police Lt. Selena Small. Small, who recalled Clum’s “unselfish acts of volunteering her time, knowledge and service.” Clum continues to volunteer, going in periodically, when she is not at one of her other two jobs.
"It’s been a privilege to assist the Conway Police Department and Lt. Small over the past year, Clum says. "I continue to strive towards building stronger partnerships of trust between the two precincts.” Small agrees, “Amy has helped CCU to foster even more partnerships and trust between the city of Conway and the University,” she says.
Getting to that award ceremony was a journey in itself. The Johnsonville, N.Y., native earned an associate’s degree in hotel and restaurant management from Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smith, N.Y. Clum moved to Myrtle Beach in the fall of 1997 to accept an internship at Kingston Plantation Resort. By 2003, she was the front desk supervisor for the resort. “My time at Kingston was a great experience,” she says.
One of the highlights of her employment with Kingston was a chance meeting with the future president of the United States. “I got to work an event during the presidential debates that Barack Obama attended,” she says. But nothing compares to the time she was asked to play Easter bunny.
“I was contacted in advance by a couple whose kids were worried the Easter bunny would skip them that year,” she recalls. “They sent me cash in advance and a wish list. I went to WalMart, purchased the items and had the room decorated as if the Easter bunny had visited.” This is the type of service she provided guests for 12 years.
Clum also began thinking about her future around that time. “I wanted a bachelor’s degree on my résumé,” she says. “Not just for personal reasons, but also to enhance my management opportunities within the hospitality industry.”
She enrolled in continuing education classes at Horry Georgetown Technical College and also began working on transferrable courses for CCU. She eventually earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, with a minor in business administration. “The best part of it all was the Hilton Corporation paid for 75 percent of my tuition,” she says.
After graduating, Clum found herself in the same boat as most college graduates—looking for a job. She was not without options, however. “The light bulb went off that I am an alumna who has all these resources available,” she says.
She used the computers in Kimbel Library for job searches, but the biggest assist came from the employees of the Career Services Center, whom she instructed to “tear up my résumé and start a new one.” In the end, Clum decided an internship was what she needed. “Chants JOBLINK had all these internships that were available,” she says. Wary at first about applying for an internship at 35 years old, she ultimately sent her résumé to four companies.
“The next day I got an offer from the Conway Police Department. Two days after that, J. Reuben Long Detention Center called for an interview and the day after that, Habitat for Humanity called requesting an interview.” She accepted the law enforcement administrative intern position with Conway Police Department and an administrative position at J. Reuben Long. Clum didn’t stop there, however.
She attended the Myrtle Beach Citizens Police Academy, a 10-week course where she learned about crime scene investigation, gun safety, domestic violence and crime prevention. Clum also participated in ride-alongs, where she “got to do 35 hours of ride-along work and really see what their job is about.”
Her employment with CCU began shortly after completing the Myrtle Beach Police Citizens Academy in December 2011. As a dispatcher, Clum is responsible for keeping tabs of the officers on duty, fielding emergency calls, monitoring the alarm systems and the more than 500 security cameras sprawled across campus. She does this from midnight to 8 a.m., four to five days a week. “I get all types of calls,” she says. “From students looking for a ride across campus late at night, to parents who haven’t heard from their kid in a while.”
Add a job at the LaQuinta Inn on 21st Avenue North in Myrtle Beach during the day, and it’s a small miracle she has any time to herself. “I like to work out at Pepper Geddings Recreation Center, take walks on the beach when it’s a little warmer and horseback riding whenever I get the opportunity,” she says.
Clum, it seems, swapped providing customer service for public service, and she couldn’t be more positive about the future. “I’ve always been a public servant, I just fell in to public safety,” she says. “I think there’s a future in it for me; I believe it’s my calling.”