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Bell enters sheriff’s race

Posted: January 2, 2018 12:17 p.m.
Updated: December 26, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Anthony Bell

Anthony Bell is a newcomer to Kershaw County but he is no newcomer to law enforcement.

Bell, the latest candidate to enter the race for Kershaw County Sheriff, moved with his family to Kershaw County in May. He is currently working as a substitute teacher for the Kershaw County School District as well as coaching recreational league sports. However, he has more than 30 years experience in law enforcement in a wide variety of positions, including stints as chief of police in Olar, S.C. and assistant chief of police in North, S.C. His most recent law enforcement position was with the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office; indeed, he moved to Kershaw County while he was working there.

“We love Kershaw County,” he said. “We came here because of the great school district, but we have fallen in love with the community; it is home.” 

Originally from Anderson County, Bell attended Clemson University and Claflin University, from which he earned his bachelor’s degree; he is currently working on a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from South University, he said. 

While at Clemson, he worked an internship with then Sen. Strom Thurmond, who Bell said became an important mentor and a good friend to him. Through Thurmond he would meet and be influenced by such people as President Ronald Reagan, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Gov. Carroll Campbell.  

Law enforcement and fighting crime is a two-way street, he notes. Law enforcement officers and agencies cannot be truly effective without community help and support. So ultimately, he said, his goal is to help bring the county together, to be a uniter and a voice of compromise and reason, he said. He wants to attack crime through united communities and mutual trust, and in order to that he wants to work to build more trust within the community toward law enforcement. 

“I ultimately went into law enforcement, not because I wanted to just put bad guys in jail, but because I wanted to make a difference. I’m tired of this divisiveness out there – that’s wearing us down,” he said. “I want to bring us together.”

Bell says he is a strong believer and advocate for community oriented police programs and safe communities. To that end, if elected, he plans to put a great emphasis on building partnerships and relationships in the community, especially with churches. By having deputies assigned to certain areas all the time, by having them do even simple things such as driving their patrol cars to church when they go to worship services, by having them get to know area pastors and community leaders, they can help foster and maintain strong relationships, which in turn will help curb crime and positively influence youth.

 “I’m about safe communities first – we need more boots on the ground,” he said. “I also want to get School Resource Officers in every school.”

He realizes such initiatives take money and funds are obviously going to be limited, but says that may be alleviated with re-allocation and re-prioritization. For example, officers that are currently working on traffic enforcement funded by a grant could be reassigned when that particular grant expires.

“KCSO is too top-heavy right now – some of those higher positions could be eliminated to free up more money to put more deputies on the road,” he said.

Bell also wants to put more emphasis on KCSO’s explorer’s program to help engage the youth more, he said.

Ultimately, Bell notes that all the candidates running for sheriff are good, competent, knowledgeable law enforcement officers and good people. His hope is that the public considers each candidate’s experience and outlook carefully, listens to what everyone has to say and makes informed decisions in the voting booth. 

Finally, Bell said he wants to reiterate his love of this community.


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