REAPPOINTMENT OF STATE’S PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR WAS “AN EXERCISE IN SECRECY AND STATUS QUO”
To whom it may concern:
In recent years there has been great scrutiny of many State Agencies such as the Department of Social Services (SCDSS), the Department of Transportation (SCDOT), and the Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). While all of these agencies are important and have received the appropriate scrutiny and review, there is one that is arguably the most important and has received little. That agency is the Department of Public Safety (SCDPS).
The Department of Public Safety is comprised of several different law enforcement agencies such as the State Transport Police, Illegal Immigration Unit, and the Capitol Police. The main part of the agency that impacts nearly every citizen is the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and that is where the problems currently reside.
Governor Nikki Haley has reappointed the current Director Leroy Smith for another four year term, and the Senate Judiciary committee this past week approved her nomination unanimously with little debate. In this hearing, there was some discussion of troopers who are unhappy in their working conditions, but the discussions were mostly about things that do not have much impact on the citizen’s daily lives.
As most processes seem to be in state government, this reappointment and confirmation appear to be an exercise in secrecy and status quo. There was no testimony from anyone other than the director, and there was no input from citizens or troopers. The confirmation process should be an honest evaluation of services, results, and return on investment of tax money.
After four years under the leadership of the current Director and large increases in funding appropriations from the General Assembly, the true questions should have been:
- Are South Carolinians and visitors to the state safer?
- Is the Agency being managed better than it was four years ago?
The answer to both questions is no.
In the past four years, traffic fatalities have steadily increased each year. A few years ago, the number of people killed on South Carolina roadways had fallen to record lows of around 750. Last year they had returned to nearly record high numbers close to 1,000. That is an additional 250 families that lost a loved one, had their family torn apart, and suffered irreparable harm. Ask anyone who has lost a loved one in a traffic collision what should be the agencies priorities should be.
It is not hard to determine, that one of the single biggest causes in this increase in deaths is the lack of troopers in every area of the state. Everyone knows that if you never see a trooper, human tendency is too engage in driving habits that are more risky. The General Assembly has to be commended in this area as they have made a significant investment in providing for increased safety.
Over the past four years, the General Assembly has:
- Added funding for 74 new troopers
- Increased trooper pay 5%
- Funded $1 million in additional trooper pay increases in the current budget
- Appropriated millions of dollars for new trooper vehicles and equipment such as Tasers and body armor
- Appropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay for troopers
Those are significant investments in a very important agency that touches the lives of everyone in this state. Just a cursory search of the past four years budget appropriations reveal over $15 million dollars in new money invested in the Highway Patrol.
Sadly, after all this investment, the executive branch has very little to show for it. After raises for troopers, funding to hire new troopers, and funding for new equipment, the number of troopers has significantly declined and has reached a critical level.
In four years:
- The agency has never hired the 74 new troopers that were appropriated.
- The total number of troopers has dwindled to approximately 750. Which is about 60 less than when the current Director took office.
- In the Director’s previous term, 325 troopers left the agency either through retirement, resignation, or termination. That equates to approximately 40% of the total force leaving.
In the Director’s recent confirmation hearing, there was some discussion of why troopers were leaving the agency, but the issue was mostly glossed over. In contrast, there was a lot of discussion about troopers working events at the state house, directing traffic at bike rallies, working on immigration matters, and visiting churches in their communities. All fine things but not appropriate while hundreds of people are dying on the state’s highways. There was no discussion of the sharp increase in deaths on our state’s highways or what actions would be taken in the next four years to reduce the number of deaths.
The Governor has the responsibility to pick a Director for the department that focuses on the safety of our motorists and saving lives. The Senate has the responsibility to ensure that her choice is capable, efficient, and effective. Sadly last week, they both failed our state.
South Carolina Troopers
Troopers: Thank you for sharing this letter. As you no doubt know, my website has been among the only media outlets in South Carolina providing any coverage of the scandals at SCDPS. Hopefully the raising of these concerns will prompt some accountability at this agency. Please keep us in the loop on your efforts.
Isn’t this director the same donkey that wanted to change the colors of the uniforms because the confederates wore grey?
I wrote a letter suggesting the new color should be butternut. I haven’t received a response.
Word is that he still intends to do this.
Another feckless appointment by the imbecile Haley!
She has appointed so many unqualified, morons, it’s hard to remember all!
St Onge alcohol King
Elinor Bloody Bitch Kitzman
Lillian Killer Koller
Pink Slip Abraham Turner
Mark Heinrich Mueller Keel
Need I continue?
Haley never knew and still doesn’t know how to run a God Damn thing. And it sticks out like a big old zit on the tip of one’s nose.
Follow the money….
Glad to hear that morale is low over at the “Boot on the face of humanity agency”.
Leroy Smith and his HR Director have dismated that agency and the moral there…he needs to be removed ASAP…Serious discrimination going on there…and the lawmakers are ignoring it.
They have all been given at least one letter outlining various acts of malfeasance. Any one Senator could have had this referred back to committee before the full Senate voted to reappoint him.
Soooooooo…you were hoping that a member of the SC Senate would stand up and do the right thing on this? Really? That’s cute. ;-)
I read elsewhere of Smith’s re-appointment and remember feeling a wave of disgust and wondering how Fits had missed that one. Glad to see it did get covered.
This is but one more of many reasons that I am glad to see the real potential for Haley to fade into political and socio-economic ruin. This is so typical of her performance as Governor and the cronyism and other self-serving behaviors which have been hallmarks of her time in office. It is just a damn shame that she was given a second term in which to continue her malfeasance in office.
The Colonel there has no backbone at all let a bunch of good people go or be fired.
Yeah but he hired his buddies back after they retired making six figures :)
He will cover up sexual harassment to protect his buddies. I bet he kept a copy of the pictures of the female employee in nothing but body paint.
He sits on his fat ass and does nothing, never was a leader to begin with. Feel sorry for the troopers left there. He just does whatever Leroy tells him to do.
Every agency could write basically the same letter. Haley is a train wreck. Anyone who voted for her (twice!) needs to STFU and realize they created the problem in the first place. I’m assuming this open letter wasn’t sponsored by all Sheheen voting Troopers, so it just comes off as whining. Vote out the Republican power structure in Columbia if you want things to change, otherwise… enjoy the Status Quo.
Troopers are leaving on droves there if you cuss as a trooper while fighting for your life they fire you ridiculous shit.
How would more troopers deduce highway fatalities? If you want know the true character of Americans visit it’s public bathrooms & public highways.
I read somewhere that 85% of the people do the right thing all the time. It is the 15% that causes the need for LE. Judging from the drivers in SC I would say that is about right.
SC Highways are like the Wild Wild West —– Many on the roads are a menace to society, driving 25 (+) mph over posted speed limits. People need to be taken to jail for going anything more than 15 mph over the posted limit. Believe me, you start locking drivers up for a day or two because of their lack of respect for the rule of law, word will spread and people will start being more considerate of others. But that will never happen under SC worthless idiotic pretentious and narcissistic dictatorship (Governor and Legislatures). In the end, they always SCREW the people. No wonder moral once again is low at SCDPS.
Whew! You talk about locking people up for going more than 15MPH over the limit and then speak of dictatorships?
Your state is all fucked up. Slam dunk the asphalt rogues. You do it, you will rattle the cages of all schizos on your highways.
Sometimes you have to break the speed limit to get from Point A to Point B without growing a full beard.
Many of our speed limits, despite claims to the contrary, appear to be quite arbitrary in their placement.
Stay in the far right lane grampa and all will be fine.
You are full of shit and yourself. And your state is the stinky armpit of America. God created houseflies, cockroaches, maggots, mosquitos, fleas, ticks, slugs, leeches, and intestinal parasites, then he lowered his standards and made you.
Oh, you’ve met Frazier and Metts?
You got that right. There are four lanes with 45mph. signs on the and crooked two lane back roads with 55mph. You couldn’t safely run 40 on them. Most speed limits are ten mph too slow but I guess they expect everyone to go ten over so it works out. People go too slow on the two lane roads and too fast on the four lane ones. A little reason would help , but don’t hold your breath.
Speaking of scandals, what ever happened to the SLED agents who broke into the office of then DPS director Boykin Rose? You remember, SLED issued a statement denying it, then Rose produced a videotape of SLED agents going into his office in the middle of the night? Then SLED said their agents were “checking for bugs”!!!!!
This makes Watergate look tame
Look, if they don’t like the job then find another. It is not like they can’t be replaced.
Replaced at a huge cost to the taxpayers.
In a story somewhat related to traffic stops, I noted the RCSD stopping people as a “random act of kindness” and handing out Chik-fil-A gift cards. I am not berating the deputies, who no doubt are just following orders, but I do have an issue with blue lighting citizens for the purpose of handing out commercial promotions for businesses.
If I am on the way to work, a family related gathering, or other affair, and am running late, THE LAST DAMN THING I need or want is to be stopped for a frivoloty such as this, impeding my progress in getting to where I was going.
The other day, the CFA Cow gave me a card at the drive-thru for some free nuggets. I was appreciative and it did not throw me off-schedule because I had obviously allotted time to go through the drive-thru. This was a much more approprite and less invasive means of getting the gift card to me by CFA.
Not to be Debbie Downer or anything, but you’re more right than you now. The law is crystal clear in regard to the authority of the government to stop motor vehicles. Reasonable suspicion that a crime or traffic infraction occurred or is about to occur? Check. Felony committed in the officer’s presence? Check. Probable cause to believe the operator (or a passenger) is wanted? Check. Stops during a sanctioned, announced, and properly managed safety checkpoint in the roadway. Check. Random stops to hand out chicken nuggets. Notsamuch.
Before anyone starts screaming that I’m a meanie, think for a second. Let’s say the random recipient of this kindness happens to be a wanted person (there are a few of those wandering around Richland County, to be sure). The driver speeds away in an effort to escape, not knowing, naturally, that the cop just wants to hand him some goofy gift certificate, and t-bones your mother at the very next intersection. See how that works out for the county…
That’s right–you troopers “keep us in the loop” and Haley continues to poop on you and SC voters by being PC
Just like the gutless, flag-ripping, payday-grubbing legislators–when BOUGHT–are the worst that they can be !!!
Sounds like Corporal Laroy has out Petered the Peter Principle
Sadly enough, he had already “Peter Principled” himself in Florida before gracing SC with his widom. These buffoons always seem to land on their feet, though, and find some other agency to destroy.
I read several articles about his behavior problems in Florida. Pretty damned disgusting, especially so when brought to South Carolina.
He’s a real turd. Hopefully some of his racial shenanigans and tales of general incompetence start to leak out at some some point.
Troopers are leaving because there is too much micromanagement and zero leadership.
Feel free to post your stories of corruption here. You can use an invalid email address to protect your anonymity.
(We need more of this, from this agency and others.)
Go to the Facebook Page”Troopers Fed up” to see more examples of the acts of malfeasance being committed by Leroy Smith. Be sure to look for the video of the command staff officer abandoning his troopers during the flag rallies.
Another Trikki Nikki pick. How can you sell our state, when you pick a Democrat from Florida to run your DPS? And the the Senate approves him twice? HP has lost control of the highways and the price is death. Great choice, again. And now she picks another Democrat from Florida, Marco RubIo.
There is a serious issue of CRONYISM linked to all 3 entities:SCHP,SCDPS & SCDMV. I have tried to raise awareness. I have went to all measures I can possibly think of. I have been a victim of all 3, and once you are caught up in their unfathomable web. Unless, you to have experienced this, and I pray you never do. I have fought since 10/14, without stopping and justice has not PREVAILED. What is it going to take ? I don’t want to hear all the BS about it when they finally do realize what’s really going on in the 3 state entities. I only hope, before my days are done here on earth. Someone will, or would have listened to my truth, my evidence of proof and unjust treatment.