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Rumors Squashed: Sheriff's Office not Taking Control of Johnston PD

web posted June 27, 2014

JOHNSTON With the Johnston Police Department seeing several setbacks over the past month, including the resignation of 8-year veteran Chief Chris Aston on June 9, rumors of the Edgefield County Sheriff's Office taking over command and control of the department began to circulate around the town and county. The force was already short-staffed, then one officer quit, the Chief resigned, and the event that saw another officer relieved of duty on Sunday only seemed to fuel the rumors.

"It's not true", Johnston Mayor Terrance Culbreath (Left) said during an extensive interview on Thursday. "We just passed a good budget that included two new patrol cars and raises for employees. This is our department and it's our job to protect the town."

Culbreath said that he has been in talks with Sheriff Adell Dobey and the Sheriff's Office requesting help when they need it until new officers can be hired, trained and certified. "They (the Sheriff's Office) have been a great help when we need them," the Mayor said. However, the short staffing is a matter he hopes can be rectified soon.

Edgefield County Administrator Lynn Strom, who had also heard the rumor, said she was thankful to learn it was false. "That's a relief," she said.

Culbreath said that the job openings for officers is currently running in area media (including Edgefield Daily) and that the town will wait about 90 days before seeking applications for a new Police Chief. "We need to take our time," the Mayor said, "And I think the entire town council needs to be involved, not just the Police Committee. The Chief works for the whole town, not just two wards."

Mayor Culbreath also said that he is looking at policies, such as the Chief of Police needing to live in the town in order to be hired. "I don't know if we need to update that," he said. He added that all other police chiefs have always lived in the town limits.

Edgefield Police Chief Ronnie Carter does not live in the town limits, but does live on the outskirts of the town and only minutes away if needed.

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