Darlington County will have a new sheriff next year

Darlington County will have a new sheriff next year

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -  Following Tuesday's primary election, a new sheriff will take over in Darlington County.

The face Darlington County residents have known the past eight years belonged Sheriff Wayne Byrd. The new face they'll become accustomed to is that of Democratic challenger Tony Chavis, who emerged victorious Tuesday.

Chavis secured almost 53 percent of the total vote, defeating Byrd by 549 votes.

The sheriff-elect will officially take office on Jan. 3. He said he's relieved, excited and believes he has the right experience and leadership to take over as the county's top law enforcement official.

"Working for the largest police agency in the state of South Carolina and retiring as a lieutenant, I've gained a lot of experience, a lot of leadership throughout my careers as far as a member for highway patrol and member of the United States Marine Corps Reserves," Chavis said.

Chavis was with the South Carolina Highway Patrol for almost 27 years. Before that, he served as a deputy sheriff for Chesterfield County.

Once in office, he plans to restore the trust in the Darlington County Sheriff's Office he believed citizens had lost.

"They came out and said, 'We're ready for a change,'" Chavis said. "Enough is enough, you know."

Byrd said Darlington County is a safer and better place to live and work today than it was eight years ago.

Unfortunately for him, he said, it wasn't enough for people to keep him in office.

"That's kind of part of being a sheriff; the people and county have the option to change the scenery at the sheriff's office if they're not happy with what's going on or if they think somebody else can do a better job," Byrd said. "Unfortunately for me, that's what happened."

Byrd added it was the best job he has ever had. Right now, he does not have any future plans following his time in office.

Chavis said something on the horizon for Darlington County is the creation of a citizens' advisory committee made up of community and business leaders, and ministers.

The committee will work together with the sheriff's office and meet once a quarter to help restore the trust he believed was lost.

"It's about Darlington County itself, you know," Chavis said. "I hold this seat in trust for the citizens of Darlington County. The citizens are my boss."

Chavis will run unopposed in the November election.

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