SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – A school resource officer in Spartanburg County is accused of unlawful neglect of a child, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
7 News spoke with the sheriff that deputy worked for about his arrest.
“When they told me, I was like, ‘Man, you’ve got to be kidding me,'” Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said.
That was Sheriff Wright’s initial reaction when he learned a school resource officer under his watch–Dwight Garcia–was arrested and charged with unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person.
“We’re not going to tolerate that mess. I’m sorry for Dwight Garcia, but I have no tolerance for that. I can’t,” he said. “I won’t tolerate it when a normal citizen does it and I’m certainly not going to do it when a deputy does it.”
Garcia had been employed with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office since 2006. Sheriff Wright told 7 News he started as a patrol officer but began working in schools not long ago.
According to the school’s website, Garcia was listed as a school resource officer at Lone Oak Elementary School. But the school district told us he most recently worked at Fairforest Middle School.
“They’ve had absolutely no trouble with him at the school at all,” Sheriff Wright said. “So, none of this spilled over into the school and none of the kids or parents have to worry about that.”
According to SLED, the charges come after a non-work-related incident that involved a child. That incident happened on January 4th.
An incident report states: “Dwight Anthony Garcia did place at unreasonable risk of harm or did cause to be done unlawfully or maliciously any bodily harm to or abandonment of a minor child.“
“The truth of the matter is we employ people and people make bad choices, and I hope he gets his life straightened out,” Sheriff Wright said.
Sheriff Wright said Garcia was fired as soon as the department was made aware of his arrest.
“Officers who are hearing me say this, understand I love you and I’ll go to bat for you, whether you work for us or not; but you’re going to follow the rules just like everybody else,” Wright said. “We’re going to hold each other accountable and we just need to be better than that.”
Sheriff Wright told 7 News he’s thinking about the victim’s family.
“We’ve just got to pray for that family and hope that gets worked out,” he said.
Garcia was booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center on Tuesday. He was released shortly after on a $3,000 bond.