Henry McMaster To Meet With Ex-Trooper

Will governor finally read the writing on the wall?

South Carolina governor Henry McMaster will host a private meeting with retired S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) sergeant David Whatley next week, sources close to the governor’s office told this news site.

Whatley, a 29-year veteran of the SCHP, resigned in dramatic fashion earlier this month during a meeting of the S.C. House legislative oversight committee.  That’s the panel which released a damning report detailing mismanagement at the S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) back in the spring.

“I’m turning in my letter of resignation,” an emotional Whatley told the panel.  “Because I cannot effectively do my job.”

Whatley’s resignation – which he wanted to hand to the governor personally – prompted multiple state lawmakers to send a letter to McMaster urging him (again) to get rid of Leroy Smith, SCDPS’ embattled director.

McMaster has consistently supported Smith even though the S.C. Office of Inspector General (SCOIG) – part of the governor’s cabinet – has published a damning report chronicling abysmal morale at the law enforcement agency.

Smith has been slammed for soaring traffic fatalities, lax law enforcement, misappropriation of public funds and poor recruitment (and retention) of officers.  These recruitment and retention issues have contributed mightily to steadily worsening shortages of S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) troopers.

SCDPS has spent somewhere between $9 and $21 million over the past four years (the agency apparently doesn’t know how much) in an effort to recruit and retain state troopers.

Those efforts have failed.

Now worsening trooper shortages are materially compromising public safety – and so far Smith’s only answer to the problem has been to dramatically reduce trooper training requirements.

We oppose that plan … and would call on McMaster to recognize it for what it is, a last ditch effort on the part of Smith to save his job.

Whatley’s meeting with McMaster has been set for 10:30 a.m. EST this coming Thursday (November 30) at the governor’s office in downtown Columbia, S.C.

Obviously this isn’t the first time McMaster has heard directly from those impacted by Smith’s ongoing failure.  Back in the spring he met with troopers and their family members (albeit reluctantly).



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