The City Magazine Since 1975

What a Trooper

What a Trooper
July 2019
WRITER: 
PHOTOGRAPHER: 

“Trooper Bob” Beres patrols the information superhighway to spread safety awareness



“It’s 9 p.m. Do you know where your kids are?” Nearly every night since 2015, Bob Beres, has tweeted this message, endearing himself to 27,200 followers. Better known as Trooper Bob, the former S.C. Highway Patrol Public Information Officer—now ABC News 4 traffic safety expert—has become a beloved household name. Over his 25-year career in law enforcement, Beres has garnered a number of recognitions, including 2007 Trooper of the Year. In 2015, he capitalized on the viral nature of Twitter, warning South Carolina residents of the 1,000-year flood via emojis. A similar emoji-based drunk driving awareness campaign earned Beres an Emmy Award. Born to Hungarian parents in an Austrian refugee camp, the former Navy man finds his own path to social media influencer hard to believe. But for Beres, the journey was divinely ordained.

CM: After leaving the Navy, what led you to a career in public safety?
BB:
I didn’t know what I was going to do. I walked down the Navy pier—it’s about the length of a football field—and by the time I got to the end, I felt like God put his hand on my head and said, “Look, I want you to be a policeman.”

CM: How did you become the S.C. Highway Patrol spokesman?
BB:
Around 2006, I was asked if I wanted to be a spokesperson. I didn’t know what the role was, what to do, or what the job entailed. I remember the first couple of days, my boss would ask, “Why did you tell the media this? ” So they sent me to Public Information Officer (PIO) school.

CM: How did you come to be known as “Trooper Bob”?
BB:
When I would call the media, I’d say “This is Lance Corporal Bob Beres with the Highway Patrol.” Reporters would print “Bob Beers” or “Bob Bears.” It was all kinds of “Beers, Bears, Beras,” so I said, “Just call me Trooper Bob.”

CM: Why did you choose to use Twitter to share safety messages?
BB:
The funny thing is, I didn’t know what Twitter was until I Googled it. But by building up followers, we were able to reach more people through social media than just going on school visits.

CM: Why did you begin tweeting your “9 p.m. message”?
BB:
Growing up in Connecticut, that message would air on the TV every night. My dad would answer the TV, saying, “Yeah, he’s right here next to me.” Three years ago, I said we needed to bring this message back.

CM: How has the transition been into local news and traffic?
BB:
I love it. It’s a way for me to continue to serve, in a different role.

----------

Lives: in Summerville
Boatload of Love: He worked at Lowes for four years to save for a boat, but sold it when his elderly neighbor’s house burned down and gave her the proceeds.
Off Hours: He can impersonate Rodney Dangerfield, Ray Charles, Bernie Mac, Ronald Reagan, Hulk Hogan, and Robin Leach.
Follow him: @TrooperBob_SC