Local Election

York County investigator files as Republican in sheriff’s race

John Williams
John Williams provided

A new name is jumping into the race to be York County’s next sheriff.

John Williams, a veteran forensics investigator with the York County Sheriff’s Office, has filed as a Republican in the race to succeed longtime Sheriff Bruce Bryant.

Williams joins Kevin Tolson on the ballot in the GOP primary set for June 14. Tolson, an investigator with the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, is also Bryant’s son-in-law.

The winner of the race between the two is expected to face Michael Scurlock Jr in November. Scurlock, a former sheriff’s deputy and Carolina Panthers football player, is running as an independent petition candidate.

Bryant is stepping down this year after two decades as York County’s top law enforcement officer.

Williams, a native of Rock Hill, has served with the sheriff’s office for 33 years, about 23 of them with the forensics unit. He currently holds the rank of Master Deputy 2. His wife, Phyllis, is a teacher with the Clover school district.

As sheriff, Williams said he would work closely with the boards of York County’s four school districts to keep school campuses secure, offer an increased level of service to the county’s rural residents, and focus on increasing the department’s retention rate among officers.

“Right now, we have a high turnover rate of employees,” Williams said, arguing deputies leave looking for opportunities for promotion as much as they do for higher pay at other law enforcement agencies. As sheriff, Williams says he will remove the system of “goals” against which deputies’ performances are evaluated.

For ordinary citizens, Williams hopes to put a focus on York County’s rural residents, outside the incorporated population centers with their own police forces.

“I want to move deputies off the main thoroughfares that go into the cities and move them onto our rural roads, and into the western part of the county, where they can better protect the lives and property of the residents there,” he said.

Filing for November’s election remains open until noon Wednesday.

Bristow Marchant: 803-329-4062, @BristowatHome