COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Nearly a year after his death, the friends and family of Forest Acres Police Officer Greg Alia continue to work to keep his memory alive.
Greg left behind a wife, Kassy Alia, and a small child.
Since his death, Kassy has focused on advocacy work through her non-profit group, Heroes in Blue.
On Tuesday, Kassy, as well as Forest Acres leaders and former Gamecocks star Marcus Lattimore, unveiled their plan for their "Knight of Honor" fundraiser for her organization. It's meant to be a Medieval-themed gala to raise money including for the organization's "Compassionate Act Grant Program" to help police agencies do personal community outreach.
For "Compassionate Acts," Kassy points to Columbia police and Richland County Sheriff's Department initiatives like feeding programs for the homeless as perfect examples of the kind of outreach police agencies need to do to build closer relations with the community, but which smaller police forces may need extra funding to afford.
"You hear the stories that go viral on the news, for example, a police officer pulls someone over and instead of giving them a traffic ticket, buys them a car seat because they don't have the money to do so," Kassy said. "These stories happen every day and we want more of them to happen."
Kassy already has a research team at the University of South Carolina working on ways to make sure the grant program really works to build better relationships between police and the community. She says she's been in contact with big and small law enforcement agencies in the Midlands and she hopes to start here but eventually take the idea statewide or even nationwide.
Meanwhile, the Forest Acres Police Department is working to dedicate a road to Greg's memory at a ceremony Thursday at 10 a.m. at police headquarters.
"We always try to take lessons," Police Chief Gene Sealy said. "Try to keep our officers as safe as they can be and keep them on their toes."