LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Regardless of what happens with the federal case still pending against him, James Metts' 42 year career as Lexington County sheriff is over.
Metts retired this week, shortly before submitting a plea agreement to federal judge Terry Wooten.
An arrangement the judge rejected the plea agreement, paving the way for either another plea or a full-blown trial set to begin January 12th.
Meanwhile, at least four candidates lining up to succeed Metts.
All experienced law enforcers with a range of age and experience.
The only one who's served as the top officer in a law enforcement agency is West Columbia Police Chief Dennis Tyndall.
I think it's key that my experience of being the head of an agency is going to give me an advantage because no one else has had to deal with or be ultimately responsible for things I have had to be responsible for, for the last 17 years," said Tyndall. "it's not about being a good cop, it's about being a law enforcement manager."
Richland County Investigator Justin Britt has nine years in police work, all but one year with Richland County.
"Lexington County is a great place to live and I felt like it was time for someone to set up and it's time to give Lexington a fresh start, its time kick start Lexington County Sheriff's Department," said Britt.
Lexington Police Assistant Chief Jay Koon, the latest to join the field, has been on loan to the sheriff's department during the transition from the Metts era.
Priorities have shifted, I think we have done a good job getting back to the basics of police work over these last five months," said Koon. "I think we've been serving the taxpayer, I think that's what we need to get the focus back, I think we need to streamline some things.
The first to declare his candidacy as the Metts saga unfolded, former Columbia officer and former Lexington deputy Jim Crawford.
I worked there 24 years and that's the value add I believe over the other candidates is, I know where the waste is occurring and there is a tremendous amount," Crawford said. "As with any situation like this the people who suffer the most are the citizens and the boots on the ground, men and women that work there every day," said Crawford.
One early candidate dropped out a few weeks ago and we are hearing some rumbling that there may be a fifth candidate in the race, and there is still time for that to happen with the 10 day candidate filing period that does not open until January 2nd.
The special election is scheduled for April 21st.