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Lancaster deputy named S.C.'s best

A deputy who works behind the scenes to keep the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office running has been named Deputy Sheriff of the year by the South Carolina Sheriff's Association.

Lt. Eric Brown, who has worked at the sheriff's office since 2006, received that honor at the 2011 Sheriff's Association Conference in Hilton Head earlier this month.

Brown, 33, serves as the support services supervisor at the sheriff's office.

"Lt. Brown has given this department and this county something to brag about," Sheriff Barry Faile said. "It's a great honor, and we are really proud of him."

Brown, who entered law enforcement nearly 13 years ago, says it's the career he always wanted.

"I wish it was a cooler soundbite. It wasn't a family thing. There's no interesting story. It's just what I always wanted to do," Brown said. "I wanted to help people."

He is responsible for training, crime prevention, professional standards, accreditation management and internal affairs.

"Growing up, wanting to be a police officer, what I do now isn't stuff I knew existed," Brown said. "It's not what you see on TV shows on a regular basis."

His favorite crime show is the 1960s and 1970s was "Adam 12."

His main focus in Lancaster County has been on earning state accreditation and working toward a national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

"It's a lot of paperwork. My primary job is accreditation. Managing policies and documenting everything we do," Brown said. "There's really three jobs at the department: patrol, investigators and us."

Brown works to maintain standards for state and national accreditation. Since the department hadn't sought it before, Brown has been "blazing the trails" to achieve the status.

"Lt. Brown was one of the driving forces behind our state accreditation and his hard work has paid off," Faile said. "Now everyone knows what we already knew. The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office has some of the best law enforcement officers in the state."

Through his position, Brown said he's gained an appreciation for just how much work it takes to keep an agency running.

"I'll be honest with you, working in the office it's an interesting job, but not what you normally deal with as an officer," Brown said. "A patrol officer confined to a car doesn't see the behind-the-scenes aspects."

In 2010, Brown participated in more than 100 speaking appearances, spreading the message of crime prevention. He also serves as the Sheriff's Office's crisis negotiator.

Brown he said believes he was chosen for this award because of his work ethic and dedication to completing projects.

"I make sure the job gets done," Brown said. "If it has a fix, fix it. It's what keeps the place running."