Sheriff Leon Lott speaks at Chamber meeting about the value of technology, bond reform, relationship-building and live police TV shows as a tool to recruit deputies

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott was the featured speaker at the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber Business Meeting Tuesday morning at Stone River in West Columbia. (Feature photo: Lott, WCPD Chief Marion Boyce; Chamber President Tim James and Cayce PD Chief Chris Cowan)

Lott covered topics ranging from the value of technology in crime fighting and bond reform to community relationship-building and live police shows as a tool to recruit deputies. 

Lott said technology helps solve and prevent crimes. “We can get DNA from a chair after someone has sat in it,” he said, by using a vacuum to gather DNA. He also said flock cameras with license tag readers are “very effective” in the apprehension of criminals. A system called Shot-Spotter is another invaluable innovation that alerts law enforcement to gunfire locations in seconds.

“Technology is the most important advancement in law enforcement,” Lott said. He also said community relations are an integral part of effective law enforcement “We work to build personal relationships with citizens,” Lott said. “We walk and talk and listen to people.” 

Lott also said there are 103 School Resource Officers from his department in Richland County schools. He said those deputies build relationships with students and educate them about the dangers of criminal activity. 

He also said holding lawbreakers accountable is a way to stop crime. Lott said that 102 were arrested in the Columbia Riots of 2020, but only two have gone before a judge. “There are cracks in our criminal justice system,” he said. Lott added that legislation was signed recently that will make lenient judges more accountable and some magistrates with poor records were not reappointed this year by Gov. Henry McMaster. 

Lott said the Richland County Sheriff’s Department has been featured on LIVE PD and that has attracted recruits from all over the country to his 900-member staff.  He also said a Richland County case was featured on the Netflix show “Wanted Dead or Alive” and it was seen all over the world.  The Richland County Sheriff’s Department will also be a part of a new TV show called “The Force.” 

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