SLED Chief would like to see incentives for SC law enforcement agencies who voluntarily get accredited

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - SLED Chief Mark Keel and other law enforcement leaders from across the Palmetto State spoke to lawmakers for hours Tuesday afternoon.

They talked to the Law Enforcement Officer Training, Tactics, Standards, and Accountability Subcommittee of the Equitable Justice System and Law Enforcement Reform Committee.

The small panel is looking at what could be done by the General Assembly to help law enforcement in the state make some changes.

The committee was created by Speaker Jay Lucas after the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd.

SLED Chief Mark Keel told lawmakers one of the changes he would like to see is a way to incentivize law enforcement agencies to get voluntary accreditation. According to Chief Keel, about 70 law enforcement agencies are accredited by the state or have national accreditation. There are more than 300 agencies in the state, Keel said.

"Every agency needs to have policies. If you're going to be an agency you need policies on use of force, pursuits, any high liability areas," Keel told lawmakers.

According to the South Carolina Police Accreditation Council, accreditation promotes law enforcement professionalism. Law enforcement leaders say it helps increase transparency and accountability.

Chief Keel said, "I'm fearful there are some small agencies in South Carolina who do not have those policies."

According to Keel, the reason some agencies don’t get voluntary accreditation is because they don’t have the manpower to handle the accreditation process. Most law enforcement agencies in South Carolina are small Keel told lawmakers.

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