ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - The Orangeburg Sheriff Special Election is nearly a month away, and two candidates are striving to become the county's top cop.
"We have to work together," says Democratic candidate Leroy Ravenell, "There has to be communication between law enforcement and the community."
So what makes Ravenell different from his Republican opponent, Allen Hiott? He says it's his 20-year career in law enforcement in Orangeburg County. "I know what needs to be done here in this county and this sheriff's department," claims Ravenell.
But Hiott disagrees with Ravenell. The former Lieutenant worked at the sheriff's department for six years. Nevertheless, Hiott says experience is good, but he brings something extra to the table. "I also have business experience," says Hiott, "And the sheriffs office, when you're in that office as the sheriff, you're basically running a business. You're accounting for your budget. You ensure that your spending your monies the best way you can staying with in the budget and not going over."
Hiott says if he's elected, he would find more money to buy better crime fighting tools instead of equipping deputies with just a gun. "You're giving this officer a weapon to go out and do a job," expresses Hiott, "They have a deadly force item. Why not give them a non-lethal force item to do their job?
The men are fighting for a position that opened after Sheriff Larry Williams died in September. "It was shocking!" exclaims Ravenell, "We knew that we had a commitment to the people of Orangeburg County and the citizens and the people that visit that we had to keep going."
"It hits you hard when it's someone you know that you felt like you were close to," says Hiott.
Both men say they want to build on Williams' legacy. Your vote next month will determine which man will actually get that chance.
Ravenell and Hiott both agreed more deputies need to be patrolling neglected areas in the county. The Special Election will be held January 25th.