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Local SCHP commander: KCSO reducing fatalities

Posted: January 12, 2012 5:08 p.m.
Updated: January 13, 2012 5:00 a.m.

S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) Sgt. Tom Borowski informed Kershaw County Council at its meeting Tuesday that the number of fatal crashes in the county has dropped since the creation of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) traffic enforcement unit. Borowski, commander of the SCHP unit patrolling Kershaw and Lee counties, also said the county continues to make progress in its effort to crack down on the number of traffic collisions and DUI fatalities.

He added that compared to surrounding Clarendon, Lee, Lexington, Richland and Sumter counties, Kershaw County was the only one to experience a decrease in the number of traffic fatalities.

“Our interstates are getting covered more; our county roads are getting covered more. It makes me look good when I can go in front of my peers and say that I’m doing a good job,” Borowski explained with a smile. “And we’ve got a great working relationship with the city and the county. They’re working well with us and we’re working well with them.”

Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews reiterated Borowski’s thoughts about the traffic unit and noted the KCSO had moved forward in several notable areas since he took office a year ago.

“During this past year we have addressed a number of challenges. I am pleased with our overall progress, but we still have a long way to go,” Matthews said.

He noted that for the first time in the KCSO’s history, every deputy has been provided with new body armor. Additionally, deputies have undertaken an increased level of professional training, including training exercises related to high speed driving, firearms, breathalyzer equipment, K9 operations and forensics.

“In most cases, we have received the training at no expense to the county. We constantly research and take advantage of training opportunities that come to us free of charge,” Matthews said. “This training is critical to the safety of our officers as well as the public.”

Council approved two measures for the KCSO Tuesday night: third and final reading of an ordinance setting a service and vehicle use fee, and a transfer of funds for the department budget.

Council voted, 6-1, to set the service and vehicle use fee at $25 an hour in order to allow private entities to use sheriff’s deputies and vehicles during off-duty hours. Vice Chairman Sammie Tucker Jr. voted against approving the ordinance.

Council also unanimously approved a transfer of $25,000 for the KCSO’s budget. According to Matthews, the funds were previously allocated for two sheriff deputies, but the deputies have since been placed on military leave. Their salaries will now be used to purchase practice ammunition.

In other business, Mark Wood, an accountant with the firm of Sheheen, Hancock, and Goodwin, provided council with an audit report updating council on the county’s financial outlook.

“Council and staff should be commended for trying to hold down expenditures the best they could. These are not easy times and there are a lot of hard decisions that had to be made and will continue to have to be made until things improve,” Wood said. “But overall, the county is in pretty good financial health.”

Council also unanimously approved:

• tabling a resolution welcoming GlobalCo Central Inc. as Chairman Gene Wise noted that county staff needed time to complete an evaluation of the company’s efforts to create a broadband network across the county;

• a resolution establishing council meeting dates for 2012; and

• the appointment of Billy Smith to the Santee-Wateree Rural Transit Authority.

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