A program that has served the Richland County Sheriff's Office well may also be helpful for the State Law Enforcement Division.
New SLED chief Reggie Lloyd announced last week that he plans to borrow an idea from the Richland County Sheriff's Office, which uses a community advisory committee to watchdog the conduct of its officers. Lloyd hopes to create a similar committee at the state level to monitor SLED activities.
Richland County is the only county in the state to initiate a citizen review committee. The group, which consists of local residents and is balanced along racial, gender and religious lines, reviews violent incidents involving officers, department policy changes and disciplinary actions against the sheriff's office.
The committee meets at least four times a year but also holds emergency meetings when necessary. The panel, which can question officers, often gives recommendations to the sheriff's office based on its findings.
Lloyd would create a similar committee composed of 15 to 20 members of diverse backgrounds from around the state.
"I really like the idea of having a committee of citizens," Lloyd said. "It brings some transparency and accountability."
We think the idea is commendable. Considering the information that has come to light in recent weeks about misconduct on the part of S.C. state troopers, oversight of SLED activities by a citizens panel seems appropriate. It also could provide a good buffer for the department in defusing controversy involving violent situations.
Lloyd, chief for only a few weeks, appears to be bringing an innovative approach to the job.