Deputy hired by former Sheriff Melvin not allowed to start job

William Dukes
William Dukes

By Jillian Capobianco - bio | email

BISHOPVILLE, SC (WIS) - A deputy hired by former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin says he's out of a job.

William Dukes was supposed to be sworn in on Monday, but when he got to the sheriff's department for his big day, he was told that plans had changed after Melvin's arrest on federal drug charges.

"I already had it planned out how it was going to be," said Dukes about his job. "Visit schools, sit down and talk to the kids about law enforcement and talk to them about different careers. And don't get into trouble, peer pressure and all about that, but as you can see things change over night."

Dukes was shocked when showed up for his first day earlier this week.

"They said he's been arrested and because he's been arrested we've had to stop the process," said Dukes. "I said, 'What do you mean stop the process?'"

Dukes had already put in his two weeks notice at his job at Caterpillar. Acting sheriff Major Daniel Simon says he sympathizes with Dukes, but he doesn't think it's fair to hire anyone unless Gov. Mark Sanford appoints him as interim sheriff.

"If they wanted to get things done, they could get things done," said Simon. "They can get it done."

With three children of his own, Dukes says he has to figure out something fast to support his family.

"I'm disappointed as could be," said Dukes. "I feel like someone just put their hands around my neck and shook the life out of me, you know?"

Dukes says he will start looking for other jobs in law enforcement starting Friday.Right now, he's in college getting his degree in criminal justice.

As for the Lee County Sheriff's Department, Simon says there is a hiring freeze right now. He says he'll consider hiring new deputies if appointed as the permanent sheriff.

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