Published on February 27th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
LEXINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT RESERVE DEPUTY GRADUATION
Pictured above left to right: Reserve Deputy William Rawlings, Reserve Deputy Sheldon Cooke, Sr., Sheriff James R. Metts, Reserve Deputy Michael Young and Reserve Deputy Neal Schmitz.
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department conducted a graduation ceremony recently at the Sheriff’s Department Training Center, 541 Gibson Road, Lexington, for four citizens who successfully completed law enforcement training that will enable the citizens to volunteer their time to work as reserve deputies with the Sheriff’s Department. The four newly appointed reserve deputies will join 22 reserve deputies who already volunteer their time to assist full-time, paid deputies with the Sheriff’s Department.
Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said one citizen who successfully completed law enforcement training to serve as a state constable commissioned by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and one citizen who successfully completed law enforcement training to serve as a reserve officer with the Wagener Police Department also will participate in the reserve law enforcement officer graduation. The state constable and Wagener Police Department reserve officer completed the four-month reserve law enforcement officer training class that the Sheriff’s Department conducted for the four newly appointed reserve deputies.
On Wednesday, Metts appointed the following four persons to serve as reserve deputies with the Sheriff’s Department:
*Sheldon L. Cooke, Sr., 43, of Columbia. Cooke works as an insurance manager.
*William “Bill” Rawlings, 73, of Chapin. Rawlings retired from the Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
*Neil Schmitz, 39, of Lexington. Schmitz works as a paramedic with Richland County Emergency Medical Services and has served as a paramedic for 14 years
*Michael Young, 28, of Columbia. Young works full-time as an aircraft armament specialist with the U.S. Air Force.
“Reserve deputies play a vital role in carrying out our agency’s mission of providing professional law enforcement services that enhance the quality of life for all people in LexingtonCounty,” Metts said. “They sacrifice time away from their families in order to supplement the number of full-time, sworn officers who are assigned to road patrol duties with our agency.”
Robert “Bob” Kuenzli, 66, of Irmo, will serve as a state constable who is commissioned by SLED, Metts said. Kuenzli is retired. Benjamin Willard will serve as a reserve officer with the Wagener Police Department.
Citizens who want to become a reserve deputy can apply by calling the Sheriff’s Department at (803) 785-8230, Metts said. You should ask to speak with someone in personnel.
Applications for a reserve deputy position are available at the Lexington County James R. Metts Law Enforcement Complex, 521 Gibson Road, Lexington, Metts said. Citizens also can download an application for a deputy position online at the Sheriff’s Department web site (www.lexingtonsheriff.com).
Under South Carolina law, reserve law enforcement officers must be 21 or older, with a clean criminal record, Metts said. They must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Prospective reserve deputies with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department must pass a background investigation, polygraph examination, drug screening test and physical examination.
South Carolina law requires a reserve law enforcement officer to provide at least 60 hours of service every three months and complete at least four hours of training monthly, Metts said.
In order to be appointed as law enforcement officers, reserve deputies must complete 202 hours of training that is required by South Carolina law and Lexington County Sheriff’s Department policy, Metts said. Reserve deputies must complete training that is comparable to the training that the Sheriff’s Department provides to full-time, sworn officers.
During their first year of service, reserve deputies must complete field training and patrol with a full-time, sworn officer, Metts said. Reserve officers must receive approval from the sheriff before they can patrol on their own. Reserve deputies who are allowed to work on their own must maintain radio contact with and report to a shift supervisor who is a sworn officer.