BIGGER INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY
A survey of employees at South Carolina’s largest law enforcement agency is part of a broader investigation by a government watchdog, sources familiar with the situation tell FITSNews.
Earlier this week, we reported that the S.C. Office of Inspector General (SCOIG) was conducting a survey of employees at the much-maligned S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS). Both agencies are part of the cabinet of S.C. governor Henry McMaster, who has been under intense pressure to relieve SCDPS director Leroy Smith of his duties.
Sources familiar with the situation tell us the survey is part of a multi-faceted investigation – one collecting information from former SCDPS employees, as well.
We’re also told the investigation is focusing on Smith and his performance in office since being appointed to his post by former governor Nikki Haley (against our advice).
Is any of this surprising? No.
SCDPS was the subject of a damning report released back in April by the House legislative oversight committee – a panel chaired by state representative Weston Newton. That report confirmed much of what this website had previously exposed about this agency’s performance under Smith – including evidence of soaring traffic fatalities, lax law enforcement, misappropriation of public funds, poor recruitment (and retention) of officers and double standards in the administration of internal justice at SCDPS.
Since then, it’s been revealed that recent traffic fatalities were even higher than originally reported.
What’s driving these soaring numbers? Trooper shortages, according to our sources.
After of the latest S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) graduation ceremony, there were approximately 800 troopers patrolling Palmetto State roadways – well below the 1,200 considered optimum for public safety.
This website has repeatedly called on McMaster to fire Smith and replace him with a capable, consistent manager – one who doesn’t play the race card (or offer some other excuse) whenever criticism is leveled at the agency.
Whoever is in charge at SCDPS, though, this agency’s ongoing failure to fully staff its trooper force is an unacceptable neglect of a core function of government, one that must be addressed immediately. Seriously: South Carolina state government has seen its annual budget explode in recent years (along with massive increases in borrowing).
That fact that our state remains 400 troopers shy of a full contingent is simply inexcusable given the mountain of tax money sent to Columbia, S.C. each year.
Stay tuned … we will keep our readers in the loop on whatever the SCOIG uncovers.
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