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SC sheriff qualifications

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SECTION 23-11-110. Qualifications.

(A) All sheriffs in this State must have the following qualifications:

(1) be a citizen of the United States;

(2) be a resident of the county in which he seeks the office of sheriff for at least one year immediately preceding the date of the election for sheriff;

(3) be a registered voter;

(4) have attained the age of at least twenty-one years prior to the date of his qualifying for election to the office;

(5) have:

(a) obtained a high school diploma, its recognized equivalent in educational training as established by the State Department of Education, and have at least five years experience as a certified law enforcement officer; or

(b) obtained a two-year associate degree and three years experience as a certified law enforcement officer; or

(c) obtained a four-year baccalaureate degree and one years experience as a certified law enforcement officer; or

(d) served as a summary court judge for at least ten years.

For purposes of this section, a "certified law enforcement officer" is a person who has been issued a certificate as a law enforcement officer pursuant to Section 23-23-10.

(6) have not been convicted of or pled guilty to a violation of Section 56-1-460 or 56-5-2930, or both, within the past ten years or a felony in this State or another state; and

(7) be fingerprinted and have the State Law Enforcement Division make a search of local, state, and federal fingerprint files for any criminal record. Fingerprints are to be taken under the direction of any law enforcement agency and must be made available to SLED no later than one hundred thirty days prior to the general election. The results of the records search are to be filed with the county executive committee of the person's political party. A person seeking nomination by petition must file the records search with the county election commission in the county of his residence.

(B)(1) A person offering his candidacy for the office of sheriff, shall file a sworn affidavit, no later than the close of filing, with the county executive committee of the person's political party. The county executive committee of any political party with whom a person has filed his affidavit must file a copy of the affidavit with the appropriate county election commission by noon on the tenth day following the deadline for filing affidavits by candidates. If the tenth day falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, the affidavits must be filed by noon the following day. A person seeking nomination by petition must file a sworn affidavit with the county election commission in the county of his residence.

(2) The affidavit must contain the following information:

(a) the date and place of the person's birth;

(b) the date the person graduated from high school or the date the person obtained the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma;

(c) the date the person received any associate or baccalaureate degrees when applicable;

(d) the number of years' experience the person has had as a certified law enforcement officer when applicable;

(e) the number of years the person has served as a summary court judge when applicable; and

(f) an affirmation that the person meets all of the qualification requirements of subsection (A).

(C) Every newly-elected sheriff in his first term is required to complete a training session to be determined pursuant to Chapter 23, Title 23 to be conducted by the Criminal Justice Academy or an otherwise approved academy or as may be selected by the South Carolina Sheriffs' Association. This training must be completed during the first calendar year of the first term of the newly-elected sheriff's term of office. A newly-elected sheriff who is unable to attend this training course when offered because of emergency or extenuating circumstances, within one year from the date the disability or cause terminates, shall complete the standard basic course of instruction required of newly-elected sheriffs. A newly-elected sheriff who does not fulfill the obligations of this subsection is subject to suspension by the Governor until the sheriff completes the course of instruction.

(D)(1) After December 31, 1988, no person is eligible to hold the office of sheriff unless he attends a minimum of twenty hours' training annually as may be selected by the South Carolina Sheriffs' Association.

(2) The basis for the minimum annual requirement of in-service training is the calendar year. A sheriff who satisfactorily completes the basic course of training in accordance with the provisions of this section after April first in any calendar year is excused from the minimum annual training requirement for the calendar year during which the basic course is completed.

(3) A waiver of the requirement of minimum annual in-service training may be granted by the board of directors of the South Carolina Sheriffs' Association, at its discretion, upon the presentation of evidence by a sheriff that he was unable to complete the training due to emergency or extenuating circumstances considered sufficient by the board.

(4) A sheriff who fails to complete the minimum annual in-service training required under this section may be suspended from office, without pay, by the Governor for a period of ninety days. The Governor may continue to suspend a sheriff until he completes the annual minimum in-service training required in this section. The Governor shall appoint, at the time of the sheriff's suspension, a suitable person to perform as acting sheriff during the period of suspension.

(E) A sheriff holding office on the effective date of this section is exempt from the provisions in this section except for the provisions of subsection (D) of this section.

HISTORY: 1988 Act No. 646, Section 1; 1993 Act No. 19, Section 1; 1996 Act No. 362, Sections 2, 3; 1996 Act No. 459, Sections 40, 41; 2008 Act No. 335, Sections 5, 17, eff June 16, 2008.

SECTION 23-23-10. Purpose; definitions.

(A) In order to insure the public safety and general welfare of the people of this State, and to promote equity for all segments of society, a program of training for law enforcement officers and other persons employed in the criminal justice system in this State is hereby proclaimed and this chapter must be interpreted to achieve these purposes principally through the establishment of minimum and advance standards in law enforcement selection and training.

(B) It is the intent of this chapter to encourage all law enforcement officers, departments, and agencies within this State to adopt standards which are higher than the minimum standards implemented pursuant to this chapter, and these minimum standards may not be considered sufficient or adequate in cases where higher standards have been adopted or proposed. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to preclude an employing agency from establishing qualifications and standards for hiring or training law enforcement officers which exceed the minimum standards set by the council, hereinafter created, nor, unless specifically stated, may anything in this chapter be construed to affect any sheriff, or other law enforcement officer elected under the provisions of the Constitution of this State.

(C) It is the intent of the General Assembly in creating a facility and a governing council to maximize training opportunities for law enforcement officers and criminal justice personnel, to coordinate training, and to set standards for the law enforcement and criminal justice service, all of which are imperative to upgrading law enforcement to professional status.

(D) Upon the signature of the Governor, all functions, duties, responsibilities, accounts, and authority statutorily exercised by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Division of the Department of Public Safety are transferred to and devolved upon the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

(E) As contained in this chapter:

(1) "law enforcement officer" means an appointed officer or employee hired by and regularly on the payroll of the State or any of its political subdivisions, who is granted statutory authority to enforce all or some of the criminal, traffic, and penal laws of the State and who possesses, with respect to those laws, the power to effect arrests for offenses committed or alleged to have been committed; and

(2) "council" means the Law Enforcement Training Council created by this chapter.

HISTORY: 2006 Act No. 317, Section 1, eff May 30, 2006; 2008 Act No. 335, Section 12, eff June 16, 2008.

(Source: South Carolina State Election Commission)

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