Reposted from May 6, 2010
Tillman Smith - In His Own Words on Why He Should be Elected Sheriff of Lee County
Thank you for the opportunity to tell you about my candidacy in the up-coming special sheriff's election for Lee County. First I'll give you a little information about myself.
My name is Tillman Smith and I am 43 years old. I was born and raised in the Stokes Bridge community of Lee County. My parents are Jimmy and Suzanne Smith. My dad is a farmer, and my mother is a retired school teacher. My grandparents are Mildred Smith and the late J.T. Smith Jr., and the late E.B. "Gene" and Mit McCutchen. All of them were also from Lee County, so as you can see my family roots run deep in this county. I've been married to my wife, Barbie, for 15 years and we have two children. My son Zachary is 11 years old and my daughter Taylor is 3. My wife is a Registered Nurse and works at Carolina Pines Hospital in Hartsville. I graduated high school from Robert E. Lee Academy in 1985. I graduated from Clemson University in 1989 with a B.S. in Agriculture Economics and Rural Sociology. I joined the S.C. Highway Patrol and graduated from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy in 1990. After being with the Highway Patrol for over 16 years, I left in June 2007, to join the Lee County Sheriff's Department, when on a joint venture, the Lee County Council and the Sheriff's Dept. created a full time traffic unit to help stop the increasing number of fatal vehicle collisions stemming from DUI, speeding and other traffic violations. I was hired as a Lieutenant to supervise this new unit. I was promoted to Captain of this same unit in August 2009, and still work in that capacity today.
If I am elected, unfortunately, my first order of business is to restore the credibility and integrity of the Sheriff's Dept. The recent developments have put a black cloud over the dept, and we will have to work hard to get it back. The dept. needs to become more proactive and less reactive. We need to be more actively patrolling in the neighborhoods during the day, when most people are at work, and the businesses at night. When a break-in does occur, they don't want an officer coming to their home, filling out a report, telling the people to file it with their insurance company and that's all they ever hear about it again. My dept. will follow up on these reports, take better notes, find some clues, and make a legitimate effort to find and stop these criminals. This can be done by my next order of business, and that is to re-establish the Community Crime Watch Groups. The citizens of any county are the best source of information for any police dept. Lee County is a small county, and is made up of even smaller communities. The people that live in these communities know each other, and know who is supposed to be there and who isn't. They know when strange cars ride through, and suspicious activity is going on. In the past, they either have been too scared to say anything or their information has fallen on deaf ears. By working more with the public many of these burglaries can be stopped.
Another thing that needs to be addressed is the communication between the Sheriff's Dept. and the County Council. It has broken down over the last couple of years. Sure, times are tough, but now is the time to sit down and work out the problems, now more than ever. All depts. need more money, people, and equipment, so you have to work together and figure out ways to get what is needed. There are a lot of state and federal grants out there, and we need to be aggressively pursuing them. As I have said, my roots run deep in this county, and I'm not going anywhere, so these problems need to be addressed now and not just pushed aside in the hopes they will go away.
Finally, the most complaints I hear from the public are about stopping illegal drugs. I will expand the narcotic unit with grants and reallocating resources to make sure that along with the information we receive from the Crime Watch Groups, we have a unit that will be able to slowly but surely start to eliminate the flow of illegal drugs in this county.
Thank you again for this opportunity to tell your readers about myself, and I welcome any questions they may have. Tillman Smith