New Kershaw Co. Sheriff wants increased professionalism, communication

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - The newly-elected sheriff of Kershaw County says he plans on making changes at the department after a former deputy was videotaped beating an inmate with a police baton.

Video from the Kershaw Detention Center proved something needed to change in county law enforcement.

It showed sheriff's sergeant Oddie Tribble using a steel baton to hit a handcuffed inmate 27 times, while another officer watched without intervening. Both officers lost their jobs, and Tribble ended up with a federal indictment.

For Jim Matthews, the incident provided some of the strongest evidence yet that the sheriff's department needed a shakeup. The former DEA agent in charge won Tuesday's race for sheriff, and says change is on the way.

"A policy-driven agency where you have standards of professionalism," described Sheriff-elect Matthews. "Where you have standards of physical fitness. Where guys get trained like they're supposed to. Where if you take the ball and chain off of them and let them police like they want to police, yet you keep a rein on them so that they don't step across the line."

Matthews is also promising a more open sheriff's department, and far better communication with the media and the people of Kershaw County.

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