FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – The man tapped to lead the Florence County Sheriff’s Office after Sheriff Kenney Boone was indicted on embezzlement and misconduct charges expressed his shock and disappointment while addressing the media Wednesday afternoon.
“I don’t know what happened to Kenney to bring us to this point but I also firmly believed that no one is above the law,” said William “Billy” Barnes during remarks made outside of the Florence County Law Enforcement Center.
Barnes, the former Florence County sheriff who will now serve while the case moves through the legal process, spoke minutes after Boone was arraigned on two counts of embezzlement and one count of misconduct. A Richland County judge set a $50,000 person recognizance bond and ordered GPS monitoring and house arrest for the defendant.
Boone is accused of using thousands in funds from the sheriff’s office for personal use. Barnes said one of his first acts as acting sheriff is to ask the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division to conduct a complete audit of the office.
He also took a moment to commend FCSO Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby for doing “what he had to do” and reporting the alleged misuse of funds to state authorities.
“This office has suffered a black eye today. We’re going to do everything possible to correct that," Barnes said.
Shortly after the state Attorney General’s office announced the charges against Boone, Gov. Henry McMaster appointed Barnes to serve as the interim sheriff of Florence County.
Barnes will serve as sheriff until Boone is “acquitted, convicted, the indictment is otherwise disposed of, or until a sheriff is elected and qualifies in the next general election,” a press release stated.
Barnes served as Florence County sheriff from 1974 to 1993 and most recently served as the department’s polygraph examiner.
On Wednesday, he said has no interest in ever running for the office of sheriff again and is fortunate he can “focus on stabilizing this situation.”
“I was and I will be a very involved sheriff,” Barnes said.
Barnes’ full remarks can be viewed below: