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Matthews is S.C. Sheriff of the Year

Posted: May 8, 2014 4:42 p.m.
Updated: May 9, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Provided by Heather Hoopes-Matthews/

Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews

The S.C. Sheriff’s Association (SCSA) named Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews as its 2014 Sheriff of the Year on Thursday. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott nominated Matthews.

“Sheriff Matthews has restructured the agency to place more emphasis on improving response time and greater accessibility of deputies to the citizens he is sworn to serve,” Lott said in a statement released to the press Thursday morning.

According SCSA’s press release, members praised Matthews and the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) for increasing DUI enforcement, which led to the department being named the top agency for DUI enforcement in the state for three years in a row.

The SCSA said Matthews received support not only from Lott, but endorsements for the award from other leaders within Kershaw County.

“Individuals in the community praised Matthews’ innovative ideas and willingness to reach out to everyone in the county regardless of race,” the SCSA said.

One supporter even admitted to campaigning against Matthews in the previous election.

“Matthews quickly won me over after he took office,” ALPHA Center Executive Director Paul Napper said. “Sheriff Matthews’ ability to maintain relationships with people who disagree with him formed the basis for our friendship and has helped him succeed in many ways in Kershaw County.”

The SCSA will officially present Matthews with the honor at the association’s annual conference in July in Myrtle Beach. Moseley Architects, a longtime SCSA supporter, will present Matthews with a $1,000 check for the KCSO.

“Moseley Architects loves to see law enforcement agencies have a positive impact in their communities. It is clear that Sheriff Matthews and the entire Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office have done a remarkable job and deserve to be rewarded for their efforts,” Moseley Architects representative Todd Davis said. “We hope Sheriff Matthews can use this donation to further implement his vision for the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office. It is our belief that this award will yield greater things not only for the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office, but also for the citizens of Kershaw County.”

Lott said he has worked with Matthews for more than 30 years and was honored to nominate him because of “his proven track record in fighting crime and cooperation with law enforcement.” Lott said Matthews has been “a catalyst for improving the quality of life in Kershaw County” and “has exhibited selfless devotion to the professionalism of the department and an unwavering commitment” to its citizens.

 

Lott also said that the KCSO and Richland County Sheriff’s Department have worked together on many investigation and issues, calling the cooperation “excellent.”

 

Lott said Matthews has “worked tirelessly” to change the perception of law enforcement in Kershaw County.

 

“From being named the top agency, three years running, for DUI enforcement to earning the respect of his subordinates and peers, Sheriff Jim Matthews is making a positive difference in our communities,” Lott said. “His dedication to the safety all of the citizens, he is sworn to serve, made him the ideal candidate for this prestigious award.”

 

Matthews, who is running for reelection in the June 10 primary, reacted to the news of the award via email.

 

“I’m honored to receive this award. But this recognition wouldn't be possible without the men and women at the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office. They work hard and they are the reason for our success,” he said.

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