More audits can help stop ‘crooked sheriffs’, watchdog says

More audits can help stop ‘crooked sheriffs’, watchdog says

He is facing charges for embezzlement and misconduct in office.

In the last decade, at least 11 sheriffs in South Carolina have been accused of breaking the laws they were sworn to protect.

John Crangle is the Government Relations Director for the South Carolina Progressive Network. He has been keeping a close eye on public officials for decades in South Carolina. He said, “Sheriffs are not under the supervision of anybody. They get elected by the voters every four years and they are autonomous.”

Crangle says a few bad apples over the years have made this a problem that can’t be fixed overnight. He believes the best way to deter corruption is by having more audits by the Office of Inspector General. “We need a fairly comprehensive review of the system for which sheriffs operate.”

A bill working its way through the State House would change the qualifications for sheriff. If it were to become law – anyone who has been convicted, pled guilty to or been pardoned of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude cannot be sheriff.

As of May 8th, here’s a list of sheriff’s who have been indicted & suspended or convicted of crimes since 2010:

2019

  • Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood (indicted and suspended)
  • Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone (indicted and suspended)

2017

  • Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis (indicted and suspended)

2015

  • Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt (resigned before DUI indictment, probation)

2014

  • Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker (public corruption charges, sentenced to 5 years in prison)
  • Lexington County Sheriff James Metts (bribery charges, sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison)
  • Williamsburg County Sheriff Michael Johnson (fraud charges, sentenced to 30 months in prison)

2013

  • Abbeville and Sheriff Charles Goodwin (misconduct charges, probation)

2012

  • Saluda County Sheriff Jason Booth (misconduct charges, probation)

2010

  • Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin (bribery charges, 17 years in prison)
  • Former Union County Sheriff Howard Wells (lying to federal investigators, 90 days in prison)

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