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>>

  • Spartanburg High School Suspends Baseball Coach

    Spartanburg High School Suspends Baseball Coach

    Friday, August 22 2014 2:02 PM EDT2014-08-22 18:02:29 GMT
    Spartanburg School District Seven confirmed Friday that it has suspended its high school baseball coach, Thomas Myers, who police said "may have misappropriated school funds and misused school property for his own benefit.
    Spartanburg School District Seven confirmed Friday that it has suspended its high school baseball coach, Thomas Myers, who police said "may have misappropriated school funds and misused school property for his own benefit.
  • Spartanburg Co. Deputies Arrest Groping Suspect

    Spartanburg Co. Deputies Arrest Groping Suspect

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:20 AM EDT2014-08-22 15:20:43 GMT
    Romel Alexander AlfaroRomel Alexander Alfaro
    A man accused of fondling three women at stores in Spartanburg County is under arrest Friday morning. Romel Alexander Alfaro, 20, is charged with two counts of assault and battery first degree by the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office after they say he groped three victims at Target, Ingles and Walmart Sunday night.
    A man accused of fondling three women at stores in Spartanburg County is under arrest Friday morning. Romel Alexander Alfaro, 20, is charged with two counts of assault and battery first degree by the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office after they say he groped three victims at Target, Ingles and Walmart Sunday night.
  • 2.2 Million Bean Bag Chairs Recalled After Deaths

    2.2 Million Bean Bag Chairs Recalled After Deaths

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:48 AM EDT2014-08-22 14:48:01 GMT
    Courtesy U.S. Consumer Product Safety CommissionCourtesy U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says the zippers on the chairs, which are made by Ace Bayou Corp., can open.
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says the zippers on the chairs, which are made by Ace Bayou Corp., can open.
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.