State prosecutors team up to streamline handling of police crime - FOX Carolina 21

State prosecutors team up to streamline handling of police crimes

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Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager after being indicted in killing of Walter Scott (FOX Carolina) Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager after being indicted in killing of Walter Scott (FOX Carolina)
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

With the national spotlight on law enforcement and recent allegations of misconduct in South Carolina, state prosecutors along with lawmakers and law enforcement are teaming up with the goal of streamlining the process for handling police crimes. 

"Confidence in how these cases are handled will be increased," said Walt Wilkins, solicitor for the 13th Judicial Circuit. 

The goal of the newly-formed task force is to make the process more transparent. The idea comes more than a year after North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was indicted for killing Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, after Scott ran from a traffic stop. 

"We can hopefully put in place a consistent, efficient process that is open and transparent, so that everyone knows exactly what is going to happen if there are allegations of misconduct," said Wilkins. 

The task force, consisting of four subgroups, plans to look at how other jurisdictions around the nation handle police misconduct and police crimes. The four subgroups will carry out new legislation involving crime and police; learn how each state solicitor investigates the cases; address how quick state prosecutors should get involved in such cases; and deal with any conflicts or bias that may arise. 

Travelers Rest Police Chief Lance Crowe said the need for trust and transparency is extremely important. 

"If I got called in the middle of the night tonight that we had been involved in an officer-involved shooting, I would immediately start thinking 'what is going to come next? What is going to be in our parking lot for the next three months? What is going to be on national news?," said Crowe, alluding to the current national climate and the apparent rift between law enforcement and the public. 

"I'm for most things that could strengthen people's trust in law enforcement and this whole system," said Crowe. 

Sen. Larry Martin is currently part of the task force, but was unavailable for comment Thursday. 

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