DECISION 2020: Florence County residents to elect new sheriff following former sheriff’s arrest, conviction

DECISION 2020: Florence County residents to elect new sheriff following former sheriff’s arrest, conviction

FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Democratic candidate Darrin Yarborough takes on Republican candidate T.J. Joye for a chance to become the next sheriff of Florence County.

One of these candidates will replace interim sheriff Billy Barnes who took over following the dismissal of former Sheriff Kenney Boone in April of 2019.

Both candidates have extensive law enforcement backgrounds, combining over 60 years of service in a variety of roles.

Yarborough began his career as a correctional officer in the mid-1990s before serving as a Florence police officer for three years. He then spent the next 20 years as a deputy with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.

Yarborough said he hears a lot of people saying now isn’t a good time to be in law enforcement, but he believes he’s the right person for the job.

“This is an opportune time for me as a candidate running for sheriff, you know with the COVID situation with civil unrest, to show my leadership skills to the citizens of Florence County to lead and be out front as their next sheriff," said Yarborough.

Yarborough said as sheriff he wants to focus on the administration and ensuring all deputies are equipped with the proper technology to do their jobs.

Most of all, he wants to be present in the community. Yarborough said he wants to start a community review board to discuss issues with local leaders.

“We can sit down maybe quarterly and talk about the concerns in the community because again people used to say I was a good investigator or good officer but I wasn’t good because I was good, I was good because I was good with the community," said Yarborough.

Yarborough’s opponent T.J. Joye began his career as a military police officer before spending three years with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.

Joye would spend the remainder of his career as a trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, retiring in 2015.

He wants to serve as sheriff with honesty and transparency and believes his experience will help him excel in the role.

“I was a supervisor for over 21 years, so supervising and leadership is something I’ve been blessed with," said Joye.

Joye wants to enhance the patrol division by adding more deputies to the sheriff’s office.

He said he wants to average 14 deputies per shift, so they can enhance response time and respond to more calls.

“We’ve got to get the patrol division squared away, the shortage on the shifts, it’s one of the things we’ve got to do. The morale, trying to catch up with calls, servicing calls, the estimated time of arrival is taking too long, they’re trying hard but we have to work on the patrol division," said Joye.

Change is coming as Yarborough and Joye compete for the chance to serve as the next sheriff of Florence County.

You can cast your vote on Nov. 3 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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