Retiring Florence police captain looks back over 25 years of service

For over 25 years, Capt. Mike Brandt has served the Florence Police Department. But before he prepared for retirement, he looked back at his career.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:04 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:05 AM EDT
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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - For over 25 years, Captain Mike Brandt served the Florence Police Department. Just before retiring, he exclusively sat down with WMBF News to look back on his career and journey as an officer.

“Tenacity! Just sticking with it, finding a different way to serve,” Brandt said.

Brandt fell in love with law enforcement at the age of 8.

As he retires from the force, he reflects on the past 25 years of serving the community and helping those in need.

“Trying to serve the best I could and pouring my life and my efforts into that service to try to provide the best outcome for folks, get the answers that they needed to have,” Brandt said.

Brandt joined the Florence Police Department in July of 1998.

He first started in the patrol division, then moved up the ranks, becoming a white-collar investigator, then later a crime scene unit investigator to captain.

Brandt said police work has evolved over the past quarter of a century, and he’s had a front-row seat to those changes.

“Technology, you know, I was a part of bringing in body-worn cameras here, and car cameras and specifically in the crime scene unit increasing the capabilities of the crime scene unit,” he said.

It’s not just about the cameras and flashing blue lights.

From helping to create a violent crime task force to building genuine relationships with people in the community, Brandt said those are the highlights he is most proud of in his career.

“Sharing a hot dog and talking about life and not letting it get super serious in that way, we give the space for that relationship to develop and those trust bonds to develop,” Brandt said.

As Brandt now steps into retirement, he said there’s one thing he’s hopeful for the future of his department.

­­­”Our city is growing, and I would like to see our numbers grow here, and our council, our mayor, and our city manager have been working diligently to try to make the necessary changes that can support that growth for our department,” he said.

From the great relationships to the day-to-day camaraderie with his fellow officers, Brandt said, “There’s not much I would change if I had to do it all over again.”

Brandt now plans to receive his master’s degree in clinical counseling, then come back and help first responders navigate the resources to deal with all things surrounding mental health like PTSD, trauma and work-life balance.