Richland County sheriff named nation’s best; first ever from SC
COLUMBIA — Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott was named America’s best by the National Sheriff’s Association — the first time a South Carolinian has ever been granted that organization’s top honor.
Lott, 67, has led the 700-deputy force since his 1997 election, running for the job after a three-year stint as chief of police in St. Matthews.
In a statement issued by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Lott said the recognition was an honor for himself and the state. The agency said Lott is the first from the Palmetto State to be named sheriff of the year since the award was established by the association in 1995.
“To be recognized by this 81-year-old organization with a history going back to the 19th century in which some of the most important local and national law enforcement policy has been legislated, makes it all the more rewarding to me,” Lott said.
Lott will travel to Phoenix in June to accept the award. He was nominated by Lisa Broderick, executive director of Police2Peace, a nonprofit that helps to foster positive relationships between law enforcement organizations and the communities they serve.
Lott joined the sheriff’s department in 1975 as a patrol officer and worked up through the ranks as a criminal investigator, narcotics agent, administrative captain and watch commander.
He holds master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of South Carolina.