GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- The Republican primary for the Greenville County sheriff election is Tuesday, and Monday evening, the candidates had one last chance to sway voters at a debate at Bob Jones University.
The candidates were asked about their voting records, their stance on ICE detainees, and on gun regulations. They also spoke about what they would do to boost morale at the sheriff’s office.
Darius Hall said he would start with transparency.
“Bottom line is be truthful,” he said. “Don’t tell [deputies] anything that you’re not going to do. Make sure that you do the things that you’re going to do, and treat everybody fairly. Currently right now we have friends that promote friends. Some deputies get treated differently in the disciplinary process than other deputies.”
Hobart Lewis said the Sheriff’s Office needs community support.
“If we’re going to make things better, we have to build that relationship between law enforcement and you, the citizens,” Lewis said. “And the only way to do that is to get out of the office, get out on the road, and start developing those relationships.”
A.T. “Tommy” Smith said his leadership would boost deputies’ morale.
“It would improve on day one if I become the sheriff because they would have a leader who not only has a clear vision and knows the direction that we need to go, but has the support of the citizens and also the support of the men and women at the sheriff’s office,” Smith said.
Robert Whatley said he would lead by being a team player.
“You got to get out there with your people, your men and women who you’re giving orders to to go carry out these policies and procedures,” he said. “How you can do that if you don’t have buy in from them? How can you tell them what’s best practice to be done when you’re sitting in an office all day?”
Sean Zukowsky said he would create a better environment for deputies.
“I will line the expectations for their performance, make sure they understand the expectations you have of yourself, hold them accountable, and expect and demand that they hold you accountable for what you say you’re going to do.”