Matthews, Thomley highlight Kershaw County sheriff's race rematc - - Columbia, South Carolina

Matthews, Thomley highlight Kershaw County sheriff's race rematch


With South Carolina's primary a little over one week away and everyone's attention seemingly on the race involving Sen. Lindsey Graham, one race has plenty of the same intrigue, but not much of the attention. 

Four years ago, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews defeated David Thomley, the man hand-picked by the old sheriff who ran the show for years.

On June 10, Kershaw County voters get a rematch of this race. On Tuesday night, voters got an opportunity to hear from both men as part of a forum to introduce candidates for treasurer, county council chair, and sheriff.

The major issues for the two sheriff's candidates included traffic unit resources and drugs.

"We are a heavy traffic-oriented Sheriff's Office right now, and to be quite honest with you, that's just one of the areas we disagree on," said Thomley.

Inside Lugoff-Elgin High School's auditorium, Thomley said his disagreements are not personal, they're professional.

"I feel like those units and additional units should be in our communities and in our schools and in our business districts," said Thomley.

Matthews say the traffic unit has been saving lives.

"I will not take them off I-20," said Matthews. "It's a dangerous roadway. Highway Patrol does not have enough troopers to patrol it and since more people are killed in traffic accidents than anything else. I will continue that program."

Matthews says his department is understaffed because it's underfunded.

"I will continue to ask for more deputies to put on the road," said Matthews. "Our response times are unacceptably long, I don't like that. The time on calls is unacceptably short because of our manpower issues."

Thomley believes dividing the county into regions would help that problem.

"Do an assessment for each region, do a call volume, call need assessment for each region and assign that number of deputies into the region," said Thomley.

Both candidates agree on an aggressive approach to curbing drugs in the community and say it's a combination of education and enforcement.

With no Democratic challenger and short of a write-in candidate come November, next Tuesday could decide the next sheriff of Kershaw County.

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