By LARRY DANDRIDGE
Sheriff P.J. Tanner began his law enforcement career in 1981 and was elected Sheriff of Beaufort County in 1998. He, his deputies, and his professional staff are committed to the highest standards in law enforcement in serving the Beaufort County community.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) serves one of the fastest growing counties in SC. BCSO is responsible for over 923 square miles, including approximately 450 square miles of inland waters, and an estimated population of over 200,000. As evidenced by its international accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), Sheriff Tanner and his staff adhere to strict policy and impartial application of laws. To read more about this outstanding law enforcement and public safety organization, please visit www.bcso.net.
BCSO’s CALEA certification is proof that the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to transparency and community advocacy, standardizing and mistake proofing processes, increasing diversity in its workforce, community policing, working closely with community groups, and providing top quality service. The BCSO values citizen recommendations and complaints. The agency has been commended for swiftly disciplining and, if needed, firing its employees for misconduct and improper use of force.
With its 245 sworn deputies, the BCSO provides many unique and important services, including: patrol operations and civil process; criminal and illegal drug investigations; cold case investigations; marine and aviation units; forensic DNA and drug identification; bomb and K-9 units; Hilton Head Island and airport police services; victims advocacy; school resource officers; community policing, fingerprinting, crime prevention, security surveys, and education; disaster preparation training; criminal records checks; reserve deputy, explorer, civilian volunteer and chaplain programs; a citizens police academy; Freedom of Information Act requests; management of a sex offender registry; and many more services. Some of those services are described below:
An Education Center to educate citizens of Beaufort County on public safety topics. Contact MSgt. Jennings at 843-255-3287.
A Citizen Police Academy to provide citizens with interactive training. Contact SSgt. Allen at 843-255-3293 or MSgt. Jennings at 843-255-3287.
Crime Prevention Specialists responsible for crime prevention initiatives, including education on Neighborhood Watch, security/safety surveys, crime reduction strategies, robbery prevention, child safety, and more.
A Criminal Records Section to process incident reports, fingerprint cards, tickets, subpoenas, background and insurance requests, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, telephone inquiries, and walk-ins. Obtain report copies at 2001 Duke St., Beaufort, SC 29902 and 70 Shelter Cove LN, Hilton Head, SC 29928. Reports can be obtained online.
An Alive at 25 survival course designed to prevent the number one killer of teens, auto crashes. Taught by off-duty deputies.
SC Crime Stoppers is a statewide program dedicated to receiving and disseminating information to law enforcement agencies, allowing the source to remain anonymous. To report crime, call 843-554-1111 or 1-888-274-6372.
A Juvenile Services Section designed to bridge the gap between juveniles and law enforcement. It provides law enforcement and school resource officers (SRO) and assists other BCSO divisions. The SRO Program provides law enforcement officers, education, and limited counseling for three middle and three high schools in Beaufort County.
BCSO’s Law Enforcement Exploring program is for youths to explore the field of law enforcement. Explorer Program contact is Kiera Morris at email@example.com and 843-255-3316.
Read about other BCSO services like Project Lifesaver; victim services, rights, advocacy, assistance, restitution, and compensation; harassment and orders of protection; permits for transport, sale, and purchase of non-ferrous metals; The Community Emergency Response Team; and more at www.bcso.net.
You can help the Sherriff’s Office and our community by encouraging qualified residents to apply for BCSO employment, reporting criminal activities, obeying traffic laws, encouraging young men and women to join the Sheriff’s Office’s Explorer Program, signing up for the Citizens’ Police Academy; starting a neighborhood watch, asking for crime prevention surveys and training, and becoming a BCSO volunteer. For the safety of yourself, your family, and others, please remember to wear a mask, follow social distancing recommendations, wash hands frequently, sanitize, and get vaccinated.
BCSO Main Office (North County) is located at 2001 Duke Street, Beaufort, SC 29902, Phone: 843-255-3200. The BCS Hilton Head Office is located at 70 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, phone 843-255-3300. Citizens are encouraged to call or e-mail before driving to a Beaufort County Office. Visit BCSO at www.beaufortcountysc.gov. Effective July 17, 2020 all Beaufort County buildings are closed to the public until further notice to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Larry Dandridge is an honors graduate of three police academies and a DoD Counter Terrorism course graduate. He served as a police officer and deputy sheriff in AL and MO. He has also worked as a consultant with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in GA and SC, and the Military Police and Customs operations in TX. An accomplished writer and motivational speaker, the owner of TVV Publishing, a retired Army Test Pilot, the author of the award-winning BLADES OF THUNDER (book One), a retired Aerospace Industry Region Manager, a past University Business, Writing, and Aeronautics Instructor, and volunteer Patient Adviser at the RHJ VA Medical Center, he writes two columns, as a free-lance writer, for the ISLAND NEWS, the Veterans Benefits Column and the What Citizens Should Know About Policing Column. You can contact Larry at his email, LDandridge@earthlink.net.