Republican candidates Ricky Chastain, Ted Richardson, and Jarvis Reeder participated in a forum on Thursday night hosted by the Laurens County Democratic Party. Current Sheriff Don Reynolds did not participate in the forum.
Each candidate was limited to a five-minute introduction. Their answers were limited to three minutes per question.
As sheriff would you make significant changes at the Johnson Detention Center? And what would they be?
Richardson: “The biggest thing I would implement would be my inmate clean up program. I would like to hire two part-time retired officers to manage this program. Also, I would like to start a litter hotline to operate through the detention center. “
Reeder: “We must offer our inmates the opportunity to obtain a trade or skill. We should also allow our inmates to have a work-release program.”
Chastain: “One thing that we started and that I will continue is creating a GED program for inmates. One of the other things I would do is watch the spending out there. The deputies that work at the correction centers need to know that they are deputies and they should be treated equally.”
How would you handle cases or accusations of racial bias, discrimination, from one of your deputies, and what preventive measures would you put into place to prevent that sort of occurrence from happening?
Reeder: “I want to make sure there are policies and procedures in place that would deal with and address these issues of discrimination. I would first send two officers and have those guys trained to deal with internal affairs issues such as discrimination to investigate these accusations. As sheriff, I can request an independent agency to come in and investigate the allegations. It leaves the public not to wonder are we taking care of one of our own. “I don’t want any senseless killing like the one in Minnesota.”
Chastain: “I would establish a citizen’s complaint bureau to handle any such accusation or incident. If it is a criminal accusation an outside agency would be called in to investigate those.”
Richardson: “These types of incidents will not be tolerated under my administration. We need to evaluate our employees before they are hired. I also think the key in these types of situations is the relationship the sheriff has with the citizens.
Do you have an idea of how as sheriff you could build a bridge between law enforcement and young people?
Reeder: “I would implement community policing. We have to build relationships and trust with our communities.“
Richardson: “The first thing I would do would be to reinstate the D.A.R.E program.”
Chastain: “My record as sheriff and deputy has proved clear as far as my commitment to the youth. D.A.R.E is taught by a well-trained officer with at least 80 hours’ worth of training. We are their friend, we are not there just when something goes wrong, we are there whenever they need help, there is a problem, we are there, and they can trust us. I would re-implement the Explorer Program.”
Why do you believe you are the candidate to lead the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office for the next four years?
Richardson: “In my 27 years of experience, I have real on the job experience. I have worked in almost every aspect of the sheriff, from the jail, I’ve worked in investigations to our schools. And through this background develop plans and programs to make our county a safer place.”
Chastain: “I have not worked with any other agency. The sheriff’s office is where my love is. It was my commitment to work here at the sheriff’s office or with the sheriff’s office.”
Reeder: “I am the right choice. I am the only choice. Unlike the other three candidates, I have a vision. I've never heard any of the other candidates talk about a vision. I want the Laurens County Sheriff's Office to be the model agency for the state of South Carolina. I started from the bottom. I wasn't part of the good ole boy system. I worked my way to the top. Laurens County citizens deserve better."