Colleton County Sheriff says law center a top priority

By Ava Wilhite

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) A November bond issue could make or break the future of the Colleton County Sheriff's Office.{}

The department is currently divided into four different buildings, and Sheriff Andy Strickland says a new law enforcement center is needed. The only question that remains is whether he can gain the support of the community.{}

Shift Sgt. Amanda Campbell answers hundreds of calls at the Colleton County Dispatch Center. The call center is located less than a mile away from the county sheriff's department headquarters where the paperwork on the calls will eventually end up.

"Coming from the past where everybody was together it's so much easier, you could just walk up the stairs or down the hall and everything is right there. It saves a lot of time," said Campbell.

Inside the headquarters building, evidence tape serves more than one purpose and each room is equipped with a heater and a fan just in case.{}

"The building was actually built in 1940. It has been a school house, a courthouse -- a couple different types of courts actually held here. I think that the citizens of Colleton County definitely got their money's worth out of it for this building," said Strickland.

The Colleton County sheriff has only been on the job for 13 months. He says the condition of headquarters is frustrating, but he knows the county is aware of the problems.

"It's hard to manage different if you have everyone split up, 133 employees in four or five different buildings, in different directions. It's one of those things where you know there is a need and we will get there," said Strickland. {}

Strickland says he's working with county administrators to make the law enforcement center a reality, but first the tax payers must give their approval.

County Administrator Kevin Griffin says the timing of the construction will depend on that referendum passing. If it doesn't pass, the county will have to wait another year to revisit the bond issue.

He says the one percent sales tax will appear on the November ballot.{}