Lott: Scott will always have a position at RCSD

Published: Apr. 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM EDT|Updated: May. 3, 2013 at 7:35 PM EDT
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Randy Scott speaks to the media on Monday
Randy Scott speaks to the media on Monday
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - One day after Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott stepped down from his position, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said his former second-in-command will always have a place within the sheriff's department.

"There will always be a home for him at the Richland County Sheriff's Department," said Lott. "If that's what he decides he wants to do, we'll have a home for him, we'll have a position for him."

Scott, 44, revealed during an emotional news conference on Monday that he is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from a 2005 crash that killed deputy Byron "Keith" Cannon, a man he hired and knew very well. That, coupled with some of the stresses of being in charge of the department, led Scott to the decision to resign.

The revelation, according to the sheriff, is not surprising. "I know how close he was with Keith Cannon. I know how close he continues to be with his family," said Lott. "It's not a sign of weakness...to ask for help."

The sheriff says the counseling Scott is receiving should not be seen as a 'career-killer.' "Just because you have PTSD, it will not kill your career," said Lott. "What can kill your career is if you don't ask for help and you don't get that help."

Everyone who was involved with the incident that killed Cannon has undergone some type of counseling, Lott said. "Anytime anybody's involved in a traumatic experience, they're required to go to counseling. We don't give them a choice."

Lott says Scott, who spent 15 years at the Richland County Sheriff's Department, is like one of his children. "I've watched him grow in the sheriff's department. He grew in his career until he was the number two person. As a parent you're always there to support your children in the good times and the bad times."

Scott's resignation is effective May 1.

Acting Chief Ruben Santiago will continue to lead the department until the city names a permanent chief.

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