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SCDPS Rocked By Ticket-Fixing Scandal




As if it didn’t already have enough bad press to deal with, the scandal-ravaged S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) now has a looming ticket-fixing scandal on its hands.

Sources within the agency told us this week multiple allegations involving “official misconduct in office” are currently being investigated by the agency’s office of professional responsibility.

Several of these internal investigations center around alleged “ticket-fixing” incidents – specifically cases in which S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) troopers either fixed tickets of their own volition or did so under instruction from their supervisors.

Not surprisingly, our sources said the embattled agency “would rather (the) media not publish anything about it.”

Yeah … ya think?

In keeping with this modus operandi, SCDPS has completely stonewalled our requests for information on these allegations – which included troopers reportedly fixing tickets for girlfriends, family members … even influential politicos.

What a mess, right?

As we noted in several recent stories (here and here), SCDPS director Leroy Smith’s agency is in real trouble … and has been for some time.  In fact several months ago we encouraged new S.C. governor Henry McMaster to make Smith one of his first “fires.”

McMaster has declined to do so – even after members of the Republican-controlled S.C. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut Smith’s salary from the state’s ballooning budget.

Smith’s agency is also the subject of an ongoing investigation by the S.C. House government oversight committee – chaired by S.C. Rep. Weston Newton.  That probe – which has already produced fireworks – is expected to issue a report in the next few weeks.

Of particular interest related to the ticket-fixing allegations?  Documents obtained during the course of the oversight investigation specifically referenced a failure on the part of SCDPS leadership to “consistently apply agency policies” when it comes to disciplining troopers for misconduct.

“Data provided by the agency shows inconsistencies in addressing matters have impacted morale at the agency, led some personnel to believe headquarters does not support them and tied up agency resources in matters some may consider inconsequential,” one of the documents provided to the committee noted.

This website has reached out to McMaster’s office on multiple occasions in an attempt to receive comment regarding the situation at SCDPS.  Unfortunately McMaster spokesperson Brian Symmes – whose taxpayer-funded salary is not currently posted online – has repeatedly refused to respond to our inquiries.

At SCDPS, we reached out to the agency’s communications director Sherri Iacobelli – who is currently paid $80,113 a year (not counting benefits) – to provide the public with information about the agency.

Iacobelli also refused to respond to our inquiries.

Despite the stonewalling, this website will continue its efforts to hold SCDPS – and all agencies in state government – accountable to the taxpayers they are supposed to be serving.

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