York County's Bruce Bryant named S.C. Sheriff of the Year for '08

Citing efforts to build a progressive and professional law enforcement agency, the South Carolina Sheriff's Association named York County's Bruce Bryant as the Sheriff of the Year for 2008.

Bryant, a Republican first elected in 1996, won praise for pursuing new strategies on illegal immigration and equipping deputies with better technology.

"It is quite an honor," Bryant said Friday. "I have to give credit to my organization. This is something I think York County can be proud of. My organization is second to none."

A selection committee makes the choice, but the identity of its members is kept confidential. In presenting the award during an annual banquet in Myrtle Beach, organizers singled out some of Bryant's achievements:

• The 287(g) program, a partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, that allows local authorities to quickly determine an inmate's immigration status.

• Alive @ 25, a program that teaches and encourages young people about safe driving habits.

• A new 800 MHz radio system that allows for better communication between emergency responders across York County.

Bryant never held elected office until he unseated Democrat Joe Mitchell in a 1996 campaign. The sheriff is seeking re-election this year and has no declared opposition.