Laurens Police Department. LPD. Casey Jones.
Crime & Courts

Officer Accepts DUI Award Following Accusations Of DUI

Upstate police officer recognized during internal affairs investigation.

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An embattled law enforcement officer at the forefront of an internal affairs investigation has accepted an award for enforcing the same crimes he stands accused of committing last winter.

On Thursday, June 20, 2024, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) recognized over a hundred police officers and law enforcement agencies for their successful enforcement of impaired driving laws during the previous year. 

Among the ceremony’s attendees, Laurens Police Department (LPD) officer Casey William Jones accepted a prestigious award for his agency’s participation in the 2023 Target Zero Challenge — a statewide initiative aimed at eliminating traffic deaths in the Palmetto State.

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“The DUI’s Jones took credit for came from an officer who dropped 26 DUI-related arrests within his first year of being out of the academy,” said an officer. “He just quit before the ceremony because he got tired of the department’s bullshit.”

Nonetheless — LPD was recognized for its unrivaled number of DUI-related arrests and awarded a 2023 Dodge Durango SUV. The unmarked police interceptor is reserved for future DUI enforcement in Laurens, according to an SCDPS spokesperson.

Unfortunately, Jones’ attendance at the foregoing ceremony would seem to indicate DUI enforcement is a one-way street in Laurens. It furthermore suggests that criminal punishment for his purportedly intoxicated actions while operating a squad car is unlikely. 

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THE IA INVESTIGATION

(FITSTube)

At approximately 1:30 a.m. EST on February 1, 2024, Jones is said to have drunkenly identified himself as an officer of the Clinton Police Department (CPD) before pointing and presenting his service weapon in the face of an unarmed black man on Apple Orchard Road in Laurens County.

“He said, ‘I’m ready to kill you, boy,’” one of two eyewitnesses told CPD officers after reporting the incident to 9-1-1. “I don’t know the officer’s name. But he had a blue CPD shirt on … He threatened to kill me twice and I was unarmed, bro!”

After eyewitnesses described Jones’ height, prescription eyewear, crewcut hairstyle, distinct wedding band and 2018 Ford Mustang — then-LPD chief Keith Grounsell is said to have launched an internal affairs (IA) investigation into his careered subordinate. 

“[Jones] even admitted pulling a gun out in the IA,” said an LPD officer during our initial reporting of the supposed coverup on May 3, 2024. “[It] furthermore revealed that counterparts had warned him about his drinking because they’ve smelled alcohol on him before.”

As previously reported, the only officer to lose his job in the aftermath of Jones’ IA investigation was Grounsell. LPD officers maintain he was forcibly resigned by Laurens mayor Nathan Senn and city administrator Eric Delgado within one week of requesting the investigation. 

“They’re losing people left and right because of this,” continued an LPD officer last month. “We’re all terrified that our certifications are going to get wrapped up in this … we don’t understand why LPD would sacrifice so many officers to protect one or two people.”

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LPD has lost 10 officers since chief Heath Copeland was appointed to the position in March 2024. The latest resignation is said to have come after FITSNews published a hidden camera video of Copeland searching the office of a suspected whistleblower.

The aforementioned video was captured after Copeland told FITSNews there were “no responsive documents” to be produced in accordance with our Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) for disciplinary records concerning Jones.

LPD officers have since assured FITSNews that Jones’ IA investigation remains under lock and key in Copeland’s office. This — despite Grounsell purportedly suggesting that agents of the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigate the situation independently. 

“If you want to see the difference in leadership styles, just follow the LPD Facebook page,” suggested another officer. “Under chief Grounsell … they were making consistent arrests on drug traffickers, pedophiles, and violent offenders.”

Under the current administration, officers tell FITSNews five drive-by shootings and one murder occurred within 60 days of Grounsell’s ousting. The foregoing crimes were never publicized and suggest a prevalent “lack of transparency,” per county officials.

While last Thursday’s award underscores LPD officers’ commitment to public safety, Jones’ attendance confirms an absence of effective leadership that neither law enforcement nor the public deserves.

“The number one DUI enforcement officer in the department left as a result of poor leadership under chief Copeland,” concluded an officer. “All the DUI enforcement was under Chief Grounsell‘s watch, which led to this award.”

This story may be updated.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Andrew Fancher (Travis Bell)

Andrew Fancher is a Lone Star Emmy award-winning journalist from Dallas, Texas. Cut from a bloodline of outlaws and lawmen alike, he was the first of his family to graduate college which was accomplished with honors. Got a story idea or news tip for Andy? Email him directly and connect with him socially across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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4 comments

Jeff Mattox Top fan June 25, 2024 at 2:35 pm

The façade erected around the thick blue line is just that, a façade. Reality is they are a sorry bunch of self-centered egotistical criminals armed with qualified immunity and the blessings of the state to terrorize the public into compliance with political orders.
Placing trust in any LE is a fools errand.

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Avatar photo
VERITAS Top fan June 25, 2024 at 6:49 pm

W.O.W. Your scathing broad sweep criticism against law enforcement is unfounded. The vast majority are professional, competent, sincere and law-abiding. Apparently, you suffer from small penis syndrome and have broken the law.

Reply
River Top fan June 25, 2024 at 8:43 pm

Child

Reply
Katie Top fan June 26, 2024 at 9:04 am

Sounds like he got in trouble by the law for good reason but won’t take responsibility for it.

Reply

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