New sheriff in town as Garrett out in Clarendon County

Published: Jun. 15, 2016 at 8:44 PM EDT
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It's a changing of the guard in Clarendon County. After nearly a decade, the county will have a new sheriff after Tim Baxley soundly defeated incumbent Sheriff Randy Garrett.

Baxley beat Garrett by nearly 2,000 votes. With no Republican challenger in November, Baxley is now the new sheriff in town.

The results of Tuesday night's sheriff primary were shocking for some who live in Clarendon County.

"I felt like Tim was going to win, but I never thought he would win in the landslide that he did," resident Benard Blackmon said.

"Tim Baxley, he's going to handle business," resident Marchellor Nero said. "I actually wanted to see some changes."

Baxley, a former captain with the state Department of Natural Resources, is excited by the challenges ahead.

"I'm excited. It's been a dream for awhile and it came true last night," Baxley said.

Garrett was elected in 2008 after serving more than 10 years as Manning police chief. In a statement, Garrett says in part, "my team will help him in the transition to make sure it's smooth and ready for him to take office in January, so he can hit the ground running."

"He's had a stellar career, I'm proud of where he's been, and he'll always be my friend," Baxley said

Retiring from DNR after 32 years, Baxley left his job to run for sheriff. He says change was his motivation.

"He concentrates on I-95. You know everything we always saw was happening on I-95 and there's a whole lot happening in the county and I just want to make that better for everybody," Baxley said. "I want it to be safe. I want officers seen in all of the neighborhoods. I want them riding around. I want them all to be community action officers."

Baxley is eager to bring a new feel to the department.

"I'm coming in with some moral standards and some goals that I set," Baxley said. "When we go in, if everybody could meet those moral standards, goals, and expectations, then they should be fine. If they can't, then those are the ones who may want to look elsewhere."

Baxley will be sworn in next January. Until then, he'll work with Sheriff Garrett later for a smooth transition into office.

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