COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Columbia to further discuss a bill that would require the South Carolina Law Enforcement agency to investigate all officer-involved shootings.
During the hearing, people testified in support of the bill. One of the supporters was the wife of the late Florence police officer Sergeant Terrence Carraway, Allison Carraway.
The bill was first filed by Hartsville Senator Gerald Malloy back in 2015 in the midst of an increase in officer-involved shootings, but ultimately fell through. Senator Malloy said he refiled the bill in December after the October third officer-involved shooting that killed two officers, one being Sergeant Terrence Carraway and wounded five officers.
After the shooting in Vintage Place, Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone brought in the Richland County Sheriff’s Office to investigate instead of SLED.
During the hearing, Senator Ronnie Sabb made a recommendation for SLED to investigate officer-involved shootings when the officer is a victim as well.
The amendment came after Carraway stood in front of the committee to explain her personal tie to the bill.
Allison said she was not notified by any law enforcement regarding her husband after the shooting and was told by a trauma doctor her husband had been shot and killed.
She also said it was nearly two months after the shooting on November 28th when she was updated on the case by the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.
Her purpose for coming Tuesday, she said, is so other families won’t have to experience what she did during her family’s most difficult time.
"It felt as if we were pushed to the side because of maybe confusion or complications about the investigation and we as a family, we felt as if we deserved to know especially based on the fact that my husband had worked at that department for so long and the community loved him so much," she said.
Sergeant Carraway had devoted 30 years to the job so it came as a surprise when to her when Allison said she received little help after the shooting nor was she contacted by a grief counselor or victim’s advocate.
“It fell in line with what I wanted to do for my husband so that this would not occur, if this God forbid were to happen to anyone else in the law enforcement family that they would have the resources right at hand to contact that one entity and I think that needs to be covered statewide,” she said.
Carraway said she heard about the bill through the local news. Ultimately, she said the bill will create less confusion and heartache for victims’ families.
“Also we know to expect for them to be there to inform us of what we need to do… that is something that all officer families should know prior to or in the event of something happening to their loved one,” Carraway said.
The bill will move on to be heard at the full judiciary committee next Tuesday.