Westminster Police Clean Up Department After Former Chief Indict - WSPA.com

Westminster Police Clean Up Department After Former Chief Indicted

Posted: Updated:
The investigation into former police chief Johnny Scott Bannister left Westminster with an understaffed, underfunded, and underprotected department. The investigation into former police chief Johnny Scott Bannister left Westminster with an understaffed, underfunded, and underprotected department.
WESTMINSTER, S.C. -

The investigation into former police chief Johnny Scott Bannister left Westminster with an understaffed, underfunded, and underprotected department.

Vital equipment like bullet proof vests and weapons were missing.  State investigators say Bannister pocketed taxpayer money that was supposed to protect the town.

The new assistant chief, Rory Jones is now one new face among many.  After staff shrank to just 6 active officers, Jones is one of 11 on staff now.  He says as soon as he and his new boss took over, there were obvious changes needed.

"The first day, essentially, the first day and again we're still finding stuff," Jones said.

Earlier this year, SLED charged Bannister with embezzlement of more than $100,000 and misconduct in office.  His interim replacement, now Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw, discovered much of the equipment Bannister was supposed to have ordered with taxpayer money didn't exist.  That included bullet proof vests, weapons, and drug testing kits.

When the community learned of the situation, they launched local fund raisers to find supplies for the department.  

Local DJ Kris Butts said, "we don't want to be known for $250 thousand dollars missing. We want to be known for helping buy protective vests for police officers."

Now, under a new chief, there are new procedures to protect taxpayers.  Everything is now under lock and key.

"All the way down to our uniforms, our badges, handguns long guns anything like that is under lock and key. It's not readily available to anybody," Jones said.

Now more than one employee, usually Jones and the new chief, have to sign for new purchases.

The department is back up to a staff of 11 and is rebuilding public trust.

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Laboring On Labor Day: Tradition and Economic Opportunity

    Laboring On Labor Day: Tradition and Economic Opportunity

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:15:21 GMT
    For some, Labor Day is a farewell to white pants and shoes. For others, it means an extra day of vacation. There are also those who take the day quite literally and cash in on the holiday.For some, Labor Day is a farewell to white pants and shoes. For others, it means an extra day of vacation. There are also those who take the day quite literally and cash in on the holiday.
    For some, Labor Day is a farewell to white pants and shoes. For others, it means an extra day of vacation. There are also those who take the day quite literally and cash in on the holiday.
    For some, Labor Day is a farewell to white pants and shoes. For others, it means an extra day of vacation. There are also those who take the day quite literally and cash in on the holiday.
  • Woman Charged With DUI After 2 Children Die In Boating Accident

    Woman Charged With DUI After 2 Children Die In Boating Accident

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:08:30 GMT
    Dawn Thompson, 53, of EasleyDawn Thompson, 53, of Easley
    Dawn Thompson, 53, of Easley is charged with two counts of felony DUI  after a five-month old baby and a nine-year old child died after a boat capsized on Lake Hartwell Sunday in the Townville area.

    Dawn Thompson, 53, of Easley is charged with two counts of felony DUI  after a five-month old baby and a nine-year old child died after a boat capsized on Lake Hartwell Sunday in the Townville area.
  • 2 Women, 4 Kids Hurt In Lake Keowee Jet Ski Wreck

    2 Women, 4 Kids Hurt In Lake Keowee Jet Ski Wreck

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:59:29 GMT
    Authorities say two jet skis collided on Lake Keowee, injuring the two drivers and four children who were riding along.
    Authorities say two jet skis collided on Lake Keowee, injuring the two drivers and four children who were riding along.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.