Richland Co. Sheriff says his department is prepared for election, not expecting issues

Updated: Oct. 30, 2020 at 7:26 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said his department has no information leading him to believe there will be any issues on Election Day or the following week.

Lott said RCSD is working with other agencies, will be more visible, and will have more deputies at its disposal to respond to any issues if they arise.

“I think a lot of people saw what happened in May and our response to it. We’ve locked up 99 people so far that were involved in the riot,” he said. “I think we’ve sent the message that’s not going to be tolerated here, so that word has really gotten out. That’s kept us from having any other problems. We’ve had lots of peaceful protests since May 30, 31 with no problems at all.”

Lott said he’ll have access to school resource officers to bolster the department’s presence.

He also said he is not concerned about the prevalence of guns in the community.

On Thursday, Walmart pulled guns and ammo off its shelves nationwide over concerns of unrest. It reversed its decision on Friday after Lott’s interview with WIS.

“We get a lot of intelligence locally but also nationally and where we hear it in other places. We don’t hear it here. There’s been zero information that [any violence] is going to happen here,” Lott said at the time of the interview.

FBI data shows South Carolina has already surpassed 2019 and 2018 in background checks for gun purchases.

The Columbia Police Department sent a statement reading:

CPD is ready to respond immediately should any issues arise at the polls. We have staffed accordingly. We ask for citizens' patience and understanding and to be respectful of others' views. We will not allow disturbances to occur. As you know, we are partnering with RCSD and SLED.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said it will be there to assist RCSD and CPD if needed.

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