SC Politics

Watch: Lowcountry Sheriff’s Candidates Debate

Contrasting visions for the future of law enforcement in Dorchester County …

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Last week our media outlet traveled to Dorchester County, South Carolina to cover a series of debates hosted by the Dorchester County GOP. While the sheriff’s debate was not half as contentious as the senatorial debate which it preceded, candidates Sam Richardson and Mike Turner nonetheless presented contrasting visions for the future of the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO).

Richardson is currently chief deputy of county sheriff L.C. Knight, who has held the office since 2009. While this is Richardson’s first time seeking an elected office, Turner has run twice against Knight – and is currently employed as head of public safety at The Citadel military college in Charleston, S.C.

Throughout the debate, Richardson argued that not much needs to change at the sheriff’s office – and that his election would allow for the continued growth of an office that he sees as already highly effective.

“Whether people like it or not, in terms of violent crime, we are the fourth safest county in the state,” Richardson said.

Turner pointed to data lagging behind reality, and pledged to aggressively recruit should he win to improve the operations of the office.



“(The) first thing I will do is recruit,” he said. “If you elect me as your sheriff day one, on swearing in, that agency will be completely staffed with highly qualified officers. Don’t get me wrong. They’re all over the Lowountry. They live in our county. They want to work here. Now you ask why don’t they? There’s a variety of reasons. There’s a lot of former deputies in this room that are my supporters.”

Turner said his deputy-supporters “probably won’t make any noise tonight – but they came to see they have they know they have a decision to make on which way this county is going to go.”

Neither Turner nor Richardson fully detailed whatever internal disputes drove their departures from the office, although Richardson alluded to the issues.

“There are some deputies here that are with Mike, but there’s some reasons why they’re here,” he said “And I won’t get into that.”

While Dorchester county sheriff’s races are notoriously nasty, both candidates and their supporters maintained a respectful atmosphere throughout the event.

If Turner is to succeed in making this election a referendum on the current DCSO leadership, he will have to avail himself of every opportunity to explain why a culture shift is necessary at an office that statistically outperforms its peers in the Palmetto State.

Dorchester County Republican party chairman Stephen Wright told FITSNews his organization appreciated “the candidates who participated in our debates.”

“Dorchester Republicans look forward to supporting our nominees and defeating Democrats up and down the ballot in November,” he said.



(Via: Travis Bell)

Dylan Nolan is the director of special projects at FITSNews. He graduated from the Darla Moore school of business in 2021 with an accounting degree. Got a tip or story idea for Dylan? Email him here. You can also engage him socially @DNolan2000.



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River Top fan May 17, 2024 at 6:51 am

Sam Richardson would make a good Sheriff.

Justice Always Top fan May 18, 2024 at 4:11 pm

Sam Richardson has had 16 years to make Dorchester County better! He has been the Chief Deputy and Knight has not been in a position to do a lot since his health issues started, a long time ago. Since our Son’s murder Sam has done nothing but sit there and help keep everything covered up. I pray that Dorchester County can get a QUALIFIED Sheriff in that position and get rid of the “good Ole boys” The crime rate is horrible and a lot of crimes are labeled the way Dorchester County wants to labeled them. One out of many questions I asked Sam that night was why our Son’s case was labeled as an accident when he CLEARLY knew it was a murder. His response after telling him a few things was, is my husband willing to sit and talk with him? My husband being a seasoned Detective with many SOLVED investigations behind him maybe would with our attorney but might not. We will get JUSTICE FOR DANIEL REED SMITH and anyone can look it up through FITSNews or death on the tracks on YouTube. There are so many unsolved murders in Dorchester County so please don’t be fooled by the numbers you hear or read! Talk to people! Speak to Mom’s and families

The only candidate that is willing to do that is Mike Turner!
Thank you for being there Dylan! This is so important to families of unsolved crimes!
Mike Turner can handle the job without having to TRY to cover up CORRUPTION!


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