SC Reps. say director mismanaging Dept. of Public Safety

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(WSPA) – A group of South Carolina Representatives says that your safety on the state’s highways has been compromised—and they are pointing to the director of a state agency for the problems.

In a new report that 7News was first to receive, the SC House of Representatives Oversight subcommittee blames the Director of the SC Department of Public Safety.

Leroy Smith has been leading the agency since 2011.READ: Full report from the subcommittee

In a statement signed by committee members they write:

“We believe the data above, as expounded upon in the Subcommittee Study, evidences mismanagement of the agency. This mismanagement has resulted in a downward spiral of morale among agency employees, decreased overall agency performance and increased risk of harm to all those who travel the roads of South Carolina. We firmly believe major changes are needed in management personnel and agency policy to reverse this downward spiral.”

Representatives say collisions increased by nearly 24,000 from 2013 to 2016 and fatalities were up more than 32 percent.

Across the state, committee members found that the Highway Patrol troops had less than 60 percent of the manpower the agency’s personnel allocation model recommends.

Representatives also found that up to $21 million was spent to train and equip new troopers between 2012 and 2015 and the state of South Carolina had only two more net troopers to patrol the roads.

The colonel of the Highway Patrol told the committee members that money is not the issue. There is money to hire more troopers.

7News is working to get reaction from the Governor’s office and from the Director of Public Safety himself.

We are working to bring you more on 7News at 10 and 11.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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