PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Lt. Shannon Ellenburg will reach 20 years with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office in March.
She was inspired to start a law enforcement career at a young age, as a daughter to an officer who eventually became a police chief.
She started as a detention center officer and was a school resource officer along the way to becoming the head of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit.
Her cases go from victims of domestic violence, sexual assault to child abuse and missing people. However, crimes against children, because of the internet, is a major focus.
“The community doesn’t realize the type of activity that is out there,” Ellenburg said. “What I find myself doing now, that we maybe weren’t doing years ago, is educating parents on the technology their children have access to.”
Ellenburg has a simple, but blunt message for parents.
“You can’t be gullible about the internet. And you can’t be gullible about what your children are doing,” she told 7NEWS. “Predators are out there and they will suck your children in. And before you know it your child who is straight A, great little boy or girl has all the sudden got sucked into this really dark world.”
Ellenburg has three daughters, ages 2, 3 and 7, and it’s taken time for her to be able to go home and separate what happens on duty from them.
She also thinks any law enforcement agency with such a unit needs to have women involved.
“Females have more of a maternal instinct regardless of whether they have children,” according to the lieutenant. “And I think it’s essential in my opinion for any special victims unit to have both male and female investigators.”