This news site has obtained an exclusive copy of the draft report of the South Carolina Office of Inspector General (SCOIG) regarding the Palmetto State’s embattled public safety agency, the S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS).
The report – which its authors acknowledge is a “limited review” – is scheduled to be presented later today to members of the S.C. House legislative oversight committee (as referenced in our prior reporting).
This committee has been investigating SCDPS for the better part of the last two years … finding little to its liking.
According to the document (.pdf), the S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) – a division of SCDPS – loses approximately 84 of its troopers per year due to retirements or separations.
“However, separations for all division employees increased 25 percent above the annual average during FY 2017,” the report found. “The majority (77 percent) of these separations … were from within uniformed officer ranks.
Additionally, the report found a majority (58 percent) of those separations were due to “personal reasons.”
“The criticality of an effective recruitment program cannot be overstated when attempting to close the deficit in filling vacant law enforcement officer positions,” the SCOIG report found. “Employee retention is a major concern in the SCHP Division as less manpower means fewer uniformed officers to enforce traffic safety laws.”
Sound familiar? This news site first exposed these issues last December – and we have been updating our readers frequently as to the deterioration of the situation in the intervening months.
Is it a money issue when it comes to these trooper shortages? No …
As was the case with a scathing legislative audit report released earlier this year, the SCOIG report also concluded a lack of funding wasn’t the problem.
From the report …
Annual budget requests to the State legislature for additional uniformed officer full time equivalent (FTE) positions, while commendable, will only exacerbate the problem and have no effect in closing the deficit of unfilled FTEs in the existing SCHP budget without an effective recruitment and training strategy. The SIG did not identify any proactive internal study conducted by SCDPS leadership which studied the attrition of personnel or the length of time to hire an employee as a means of getting ahead of the failure to close the gap in position vacancies …
So … what gives? Critics have long alleged that poor morale at SCDPS was among the contributing factors related to recruitment issues at the agency.
Now there’s proof of that contention …
According to the inspector general’s report, 58 percent of SCDPS employees who participated in a survey accompanying the investigation indicated that morale at the agency was “poor.”
“There was a general sense that agency leadership communicated poorly to agency’s employees and was not concerned with the morale of its work force,” the report concluded.
Here’s the draft version of the report we were exclusively provided …
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The results of the SCOIG investigation come just days after this news site published its latest report detailing ill-conceived measures being taken by imperiled SCDPS director Leroy Smith to address worsening shortages within the ranks of S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) troopers.
Smith’s agency has dramatically cut training requirements in an effort to rush new troopers onto the job. As of this writing, Palmetto State troopers are now receiving less than half the training of their peers in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
We oppose this “reform.” Not only does it fail to address SCDPS’ lingering recruitment problem, but it could materially endanger public safety by putting hundreds of new troopers on the road before they are ready.
Frankly, it strikes us as a desperate effort by Smith to save his job – not a sustainable long-term solution to shortages of troopers on the road.
(Click to view)
As noted in our prior coverage, Smith’s “leadership” of this agency has been under fire all year. Members of the S.C. General Assembly have already gone on record calling for his resignation – which this news site has seconded.
Under Smith’s “leadership,” South Carolina has seen 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 the agency.
Oh, and his top brass – many of whom will appear before lawmakers this week – have been accused of lying about these myriad issues.
Unfortunately, S.C. governor Henry McMaster – who oversees this agency – has repeatedly failed to hold Smith accountable for his piss poor performance.
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