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Published on February 18th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Youth Arbitration Program 8 Year Anniversary

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is proud to announce that the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Youth Arbitration Program is in its 8th successful year. Sheriff Leon Lott states that the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Arbitration Program has been in existence since February of 2007 and is still going strong with a success rate of 93 percent, and a recidivism rate of less than 11 percent. Youth Arbitration was designed to assist our youth, and get them back on the path to success.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the Youth Arbitration Program consists almost entirely of volunteers who have devoted their time and energy to helping improve our communities and our youth completely out of the goodness of their hearts. In order to become a certified youth arbitrator, volunteers have to successfully complete the programs 24 hour course which is taught over a 3 week period. The course consist of meeting each Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6pm-9pm throughout a 3 week period with instructor Lieutenant Kim Myers, along with guest speakers, who thoroughly teach about the diversionary program. The Youth Arbitrators learn how to conduct arbitration hearings, and hand down appropriate sanctions to help the student learn from his/her mistake while keeping a clean record! This diversionary option satisfies the needs of the community, the victim, as well as the offender which generates restorative justice for all parties. In addition, annual training is also mandatory for arbitrators to keep their certifications as a way for the department to keep positive energetic arbitrators in position to assist our young folks.


Judy Burton-Wiggins

Sheriff Leon Lott is also proud to recognize one particular youth arbitrator, Judy Burton-Wiggins, who has been a dedicated arbitrator for the entire 8 years the Richland County Sheriff’s Department has offered the Youth Arbitration Program. Director of the program Lieutenant Kim Myers stated that although arbitrators come and go, Judy has been an active arbitrator since the very beginning; even through the death of her son about two years ago. Judy’s commitment to the program and our communities’ youth stem from her study in Human Behavior and Conflict Resolution, in which she attended Columbia College to receive her Master’s Degree. When Judy heard about the department looking for volunteers for the program she knew it was something she really wanted to do because it would allow her to give back to the community, help children, their families and communities while also keeping her conflict resolution skills up to date. Judy stated that even though it’s hard to accept that some children just cannot be helped, it’s all the children that she has been able to help and future children she hopes to help that keeps her active in the program.

Sheriff Leon Lott added that he truly appreciates Judy and all the volunteers who have helped the Richland County Sheriff’s Department reach through to now 2,181 troubled youth. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer please visit our website at underneath programs/services dropdown to obtain application. Forward application to 5623 Two Notch Road Attention: Youth Arbitration or email Lieutenant Kim Myers for electronic application at For more information, call Lieutenant Kim Myers at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 736-0429. Sheriff Leon Lott is always looking for ways to include the community in what we do everyday to make Richland County a better place to live, work and play.


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