Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Building Unity in the Community"-- Keep Safety Top of Mind, While Enjoying Family Fun.

As your Sheriff for the last 16 years, I have proudly led the Department with the philosophy and management style set on the corner stone of “Building Unity in the Community” through professionalism, commitment, vision and passion.
The SC State Fair begins Wednesday October 10, 2012- this yearly event is filled with entertainment and fun for family and friends. But it is still imperative that citizens are mindful of ways to avoid becoming a victim of crime while visiting.
Sheriff’s Deputies will be working with the Fair Association, again this year, to provide a family friendly environment. Your Deputies will be patrolling the fairgrounds and a command post will be set up at the backside of grandstand; with another post set up at the HeathBuilding near the rocket for first aid and lost children. We are at the fair to interact with you, to help you and to make the fair a safe and fun environment.
I ask that you take the time, when you arrive, to point out the command posts to your children and tell them to trust and find a uniformed officer if they become lost or scared. Here are some other important tips:
Tell your children to always ask you or the adult in charge for permission before:
  • going anywhere with anybody
  • leaving the group
  • going somewhere with somebody other than a uniformed officer or security personnel
Please make sure your children:
  • tell you where they are going
  • tell you how they are getting there
  • tell you who they will be with

Have a secret code word to be used in case of an emergency and someone tells you that you need to come with them, you can ask them for the code word.
Parents please check in with your young adults or have them check in with you periodically (cell phones can come in handy for this process) – just make sure if they are calling you that they set an alarm on their phone as a reminder.
Staying safe should be a priority for everyone. At events like the State Fair (where there are large numbers of people in close quarters) there is the chance that criminals could see this as an opportunity to make you a victim. I ask that you remain alert and are aware of what is going on around you -- by doing this you are less likely to be a target. By taking a few simple precautions, you can discourage criminals and reduce your chances of becoming a victim:
  • Try and go to the fair in groups, this should help to prevent and potential predators waiting to commit a crime.
  • Take small purses or bags inside with you and try to avoid using large purses and pocketbooks – unfortunately they’re good targets for purse snatchers and can fall off amusement rides.
  • Do not flash you cash – this will only attracted unwanted attention and make you a target for robbery or pickpockets.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear an excessive amount of jewelry.
Taking a proactive approach can mean the difference between staying safe or being a potential victim.
Parking is available inside and outside the grounds, also use caution and be aware of your surroundings, and watch for who may be watching you. I recommend making sure all valuables are out of sight and that your car is locked.
Finally, I ask that if you see anything suspicious or seeing anyone causing problems at the fair, to please notify a deputy or security personnel immediately. They will be asked leave and may be subject to other enforcement action.
  • For more safety tips visit and be sure to visit our booth in the HamptonBuilding by the North Gate.
Below is a link to a story by WACH Fox News.

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Building Unity in the Community"-- Law Enforcement Officers Help Special Olympics Athletes; Heroes Helping Heroes takes on New Meaning

As your Sheriff for the last 16 years, I have proudly led the Department with the philosophy and management style set on the corner stone of “Building Unity in the Community” through professionalism, commitment, vision and passion.


Richland County Sheriff's Department personnel are involved year-round with several community focused efforts. However, the partnership between the Department and the Special Olympics South Carolina is particularly extraordinary.


Special Olympics South Carolina provides year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. By participating in sports, physical fitness and healthcare education programs, Special Olympics South Carolina athletes increase self-confidence and social skills, improve physical and motor skills, and have better success in leading more productive and independent lives.


"It really is about "Heroes Helping Heroes," says Captain Joe Pellicci, a Department leader in coordinating Special Olympics Events. "The great thing about the Law Enforcement/Special Olympics partnership is that every penny we raise goes to all aspects of what the athletes need to succeed. 100% of monies raised goes directly to our local athletes for training, equipment, and travel."


Special Olympic athletes are true heroes and should be an inspiration to all of us. Thanks to donations the Special Olympics Athletes are able to participate in events, games and competitions year-round.


"It's not whether the athletes win or lose- it's about the friends they make and the self-esteem they gain," Pellicci says. "That's what makes this effort so meaningful to me."


The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is committed to the Special Olympics and participating in fundraising events like Bocce Tournaments, "Cops and Calabash" at Fatz Cafe, "Tip a Cop" at Red Robin and most recently "Cops on top of Doughnut Shops" with Krispy Kreme- which alone raised over $15,000.00. This unified, grassroots effort between Law Enforcement and the community helps the thousands of South Carolina Special Olympics’ Athletes.


The "Heroes Helping Heroes" theme is not only referring to Law Enforcement Officers helping the athletes. WE are learning and benefitting from knowing and spending time with the Special Olympic Athletes. They are the true Heroes of this effort.


I encourage all citizens to support Special Olympics. For more information, you can contact Captain Joe Pellicci of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 576-3025 or or Sue Maner of, Special Olympics at (803) 404-5511 or .


Please find attached pictures of our most recent event "Cops on top of Doughnut Shops" with Krispy Kreme on Clemson Road.


Citizens can access important information about crime prevention, free safety training and community resources at:


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Building Unity in the Community"-- D.A.R.E program challenges students to stay on a positive, drug-free path

As your Sheriff, I know the importance of providing our students the proper tools to identify drugs and alcohol and know how to say no. D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, aims to help students avoid drugs or other high risk behaviors.

The D.A.R.E. program is offered to students at no charge thanks in part to a partnership between D.A.R.E. America and the Mid Atlantic Recycling Bin Program (M.A.C.) – this year the partnership raised $28,000 to pay for materials like workbooks, pins, certificates, pencils and buttons to reinforce the message.

Each year, thousands of students in Richland County are taught the D.A.R.E. curriculum by School Resource Officers. I am proud of all of the D.A.R.E. instructors for making the commitment every year to make a positive difference in our students lives. It reinforces what can be done when a group is committed to helping young people succeed both inside the classroom and beyond.

For the last 16 years Richland County, I have proudly led the Department with the philosophy and management style set on the corner stone of “Building Unity in the Community” through professionalism, passion, vision and commitment.

In 2003, the D.A.R.E. program faced the risk of being terminated because of a lack of funding. I felt D.A.R.E. was too important and took on the program with no financial support. I helped in creating a D.A.R.E. training center assuming the role of Executive Administrator; making sure every D.A.R.E. instructor completes their 80 hours of required certified training. Over the past 8 years 112 officers across South Carolina have been trained to teach DARE and 78,348 children have been taught the D.A.R.E. curriculum.

Last month, I was honored to be named the 2012 National D.A.R.E. Executive of the Year by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and D.A.R.E. America. The award was presented in Atlanta during the 2012 D.A.R.E. annual international training conference by Charlie Parsons, President and CEO of DARE America and Agent in Charge DEA Atlanta Field Division Harry Sommers.

I am truly honored and pledge to continue this powerful program to help children understand the importance of staying on a positive life path.

The D.A.R.E. program is taught at schools throughout Richland County. There are several community events where you can lend your support for the life-changing curriculum. The next event is October 25, 2012 at the Baskin Robbins on Forest Drive. It's the annual DARESCREAM night- a free, fun, and safe evening for kids to celebrate D.A.R.E.

For more information about D.A.R.E. please contact Deputy Arlene Sharpe at the SC D.A.R.E. Training Center, (803) 419-5318 or

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Personal Safety

It is the mission of the Richland County Sheriff's Department to improve the quality of life for ALL citizens.  As your Sheriff, I have made it my duty to build unity between the Sheriff's Department and the community; joining our high standards of excellence with our vision for safer communities. 

Staying safe should be a priority for everyone. However, busy schedules, time constraints and routines often result in us providing criminals opportunities to make us victims. I hope that by giving you tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of crime when you are at home, out and about, or at work will help to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Personal Protection:

·         Don’t think that that it can’t happen to you.                                       

·         Always be aware of your surroundings, who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. Don’t get distracted.

·         Walk purposefully, stand tall, and make eye contact with people around you.

·         Stay Alert!

·         Make yourself a “tough target.”

·         Should you resist? Everyone and every situation are different.

·         Trust your instincts! If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, leave!

·         If being followed or stalked, call 911 or drive directly to a police station. 


If You're Attacked

·         Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible and evaluate your options and resources.

·         It may be more advisable to submit than to resist and risk severe injury or death. You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances. 

·         Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy doesn't work, try another. Possible options include negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming, and physical resistance.

·         You may be able to turn the attacker off with unusual behavior such as throwing up, acting crazy, or stating you have a sexually transmitted disease.  


As your Sheriff, I am always looking for ways to protect citizens in our communities. One of the ways that I can do this is by providing training and awareness to you FREE of charge. For example; to reduce the possibility of women being victimized, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) offers a Women’s Self Defense Class. This is a crime prevention program that utilizes techniques that are specifically designed to empower women to recognize their strengths and make sound decisions when faced with potentially dangerous situations.

Sergeant Maria Yturria is one of a few Hispanic female Deputies with the RCSD and helps run the Self Defense course. She also acts as a liaison to educate the Hispanic community about the programs we offer, including the women's self defense class. "I use my background to go out and communicate with other Hispanic community liaisons. I am also part of various organizations to network in the immigrant communities."

I am proud of all of our Deputies’ efforts and dedication to protect and serve the people of Richland County through education and awareness.

The next FREE Women's Self Defense Class is scheduled for  October 6, 2012 from 10:30am - 2:30pm at 430 Polo Rd. Polo Recreation Center. To register contact Diana (803) 446-8605. For more information- including a class schedule-  visit our website at and click on the link at the bottom of the homepage.

By taking a few simple precautions, you can discourage criminals and reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

If we all remain alert and are aware of what is going on around us, we are less likely to be a target. Being prepared and taking a proactive approach can mean the difference between staying safe or being a potential victim.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Safety

As we head into the Labor Day Holiday Weekend, I encourage everyone to be safe during their travels and celebrations.

Every year we lose lives on our roadways and waterways by someone drinking in excess and driving-- please don't consume alcohol and then get in the drivers seat of a boat or a car. It is your responsibility to not only be reliable; but also set a good example be making the right decisions. 

In the past- I have stressed the importance of all citizens taking the time and effort toward making our roadways and waterways safer. We are out in force to make sure you are making good choices. If you don't you will pay the price.  

Here are just a few simple tips that can make the difference between life and death:


  • Personal flotation devices – they must fit correctly, be used for the intended purposes and everyone must have one 
  • When it comes to children, personal flotation devices should always be worn near any body of water  
  • Boating safety checklist should always be followed when operating a water craft which includes navigational lights, first aid kit, fire extinguishers and audible devices 
  • No operation of water craft while under the influence of alcohol – if you are going to consume alcohol while boating please use a designated Skipper and you must be over the age of 21 

  • If planning a "road trip" over the holidays, have your vehicle serviced and checked out sufficiently far ahead to allow for repairs if needed.  
  • Don’t forget to have the mechanic check your spare tire and all fluid levels along with the other preventive maintenance procedures.  
  • Consider keeping spare fuses and a "breakdown kit" in your vehicle at all times.  
  • Breakdown kits may be purchased from a variety of sources, or you can assemble your own at any auto parts or hardware store using a commercial version as a guideline.  
  • Obtain a map or download the latest available GPS data.  
  • Inform a family member where you will be and when to expect you back; give them your route if they don't know it.  
  • Select well-traveled and lighted thoroughfares. Bear in mind that routes which are congested during rush hour may be very lightly traveled at other hours.  
  • Use freeways and arterial streets and avoid less-traveled roads as much as possible, especially when driving at night or in unfamiliar locations.  
  • When driving, keep doors locked and windows rolled up at all times.  
  • Maintain at least half a tank of fuel, and keep vehicle in good repair. 
  • Check to see what conditions they report before leaving. Visit the Federal Highway Administration's related webpage...  
Here are some other ways you can thoroughly be prepared: 

Put together a “breakdown kit”:

-a thermal blanket/bag and a gallon of water

-a “HELP” sign/flag and flares/reflectors

-a flashlight (check batteries semi-annually)

-duct tape

Also consider carrying:

-a set of jumper cables, a tire gauge, and work gloves

-a few hand tools (pliers, screwdrivers, Allen wrenches)

-some rope and at least one bungee cord

-towels and a roll of toilet paper (in a plastic bag)

-a small 12-volt tire inflator

-an empty (new, never used) one-gallon gas can

Please be safe this Labor Day weekend. Enjoy your time off with friends and family.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Building Unity in the Community"-- Searching for Role Models; Become a Youth Arbitrator at RCSD

As your Sheriff, I understand the importance of keeping our youth on the right path. Without positive influences and role models our youth have a greater chance of making the wrong decisions and sometimes, they are unable to recover from those mistakes. This is why I am seeking energetic Volunteer Arbitrators to join The Richland County Sheriff's Department team.

The Sheriff's Department Arbitration Program has been in existence since the spring of 2007 and is still going strong with a success rate of over 90 percent. One mistake does not have to mean a lifetime of consequences. Youth Arbitration is a community-based program that provides fast track accountability for first-time youthful offenders charged with committing a nonviolent crime.

Since the inception of the Youth Arbitration program in Richland County there have been more than 1,300 youth referrals to the program with a recidivism rate of less than 11 percent.

Annual training is a must as we strive to keep positive energetic arbitrators in position to assist our young folks. This is your chance as a Volunteer Arbitrator to assist our young adults that have come in contact with law enforcement for misdemeanor crimes. We are the only law enforcement agency in the state to run a Youth Arbitration Program.

"It's all about what the kids get out of it," says Lieutenant Kim Myers the Director of the Youth Arbitration Program. "Some kids find hidden talents and discover a dedication to a particular area of the community. Some even discover an interest in a particular career path."

I am extremely proud of the active trained volunteer arbitrators dedicated to helping our youth... several of them have been with us from the beginning.

"It's my hope that I can somehow help to get these kids back on track. If I can help just 1 or 2 kids- I see that as a success," says Pat Klatt. She started as a volunteer and was eventually hired part-time to work with Youth Arbitration. Klatt is mainly responsible for running things behind the scenes as a Case Manager. She also heads into the field as an Arbitrator. "I think it's a wonderful program. These kids deserve a second chance and I want to do my part to help."


The success of the program depends on community participation and volunteerism. I am thrilled we are able to work with countless partners including the Department of Juvenile Justice, Alvin S. Glen Detention center, the Coroners Office, Homeworks Project, and Solicitor Dan Johnson at the Richland County Judicial Center to help mentor our youth and offer them a second chance.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer please visit our website at underneath programs/services dropdown to obtain application. Forward application to 5623 Two Notch Road Attention: Youth Arbitration or email Lieutenant Kym Myers for electronic application for more information call Lieutenant Kym Myers, Richland County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 736-0429

Arbitration training is held during the month of October 2012 for a total of 24 hours (Tuesdays and Thursdays evenings 6pm-9pm and one Saturday) Training dates will be announced upon receipt of applications at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, 6429 Bishop Avenue Columbia, South Carolina, 29203

For more information about the Youth Arbitration Program visit

Monday, August 6, 2012

Community Policing Strategies and Problem-Solving Techniques Result in "Building Unity in the Community"

It is the mission of the Richland County Sheriff's Department to improve the quality of life for ALL citizens.  As your Sheriff, I have made it my duty to build unity between the Sheriff's Department and the community; joining our high standards of excellence with our vision for safer communities. This is done all year long- but celebrated during our annual National Night Out events.

National Night Out held the first Tuesday of August is designed to encourage communities to interact with each other, interact with law enforcement and to send the message to criminals that we will not tolerate their behavior.

While one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs and violence-- National Night Out does represent the kind of spirit, energy and determination that is helping to make many neighborhoods safer places throughout the year. It is a night to celebrate safety and crime prevention successes - and to expand and strengthen programs everyday of the year.

I encourage ALL neighborhoods to use National Night Out to unify for a great cause and evaluate your neighborhood to determine what things can be done to improved your safety. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is prepared to assist each community with making it safer and to reducing crime overall.

Through passion and commitment we will maintain a high standard of professional accountability and will reduce the fear of crime and the fear of retaliation by the criminal element.

It is my goal is to have 100% participation from all neighborhoods in Richland County on National Night Out, and have a crime watch in every neighborhood and business community. Neighbors can organize themselves as well as business owners and tenants to talk about crime prevention in their neighborhood and business community.

Some of this year's events include:

  • Richland Village Apartments - 1234 Universal Drive
  • Summit Community - The Summit Clemson Road
  • Lake Carolina - Town Center
  • Woodlands Forest Greens Neighborhood Association - 9 Baldur Court
  • Lower Richland High School2615 Lower Richland Boulevard
  • Carriage House Apartments - 110 Amsterdam Drive
  • Newcastle Neighborhood - 202 Newcastle Drive
  • St. Andrews Pointe Apartment - 1510 St. Andrews Road
  • Courtyards at Providence PlantationProvidence Crossing

The Sheriffs Department Community Action Team specializes in helping individuals start and maintain their crime watch. I ask that each neighborhood contact the Community Services Division at the Sheriff’s Department at (803) 576-3191 for ideas on how to help prevent crime.

More on National Night Out: The yearly event began in 1984 in an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anticrime efforts; it was felt that a high-profile, high-impact type of crime prevention event was needed nationally. It's a wonderful opportunity for communities nationwide to promote police-community partnerships, crime prevention, and neighborhood camaraderie.