GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – On Wednesday, Interim Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown started his first full day back in the position he held for 24 years.
One of the largest tasks ahead of Brown is re-commissioning the nearly 500 sworn-in deputies under him instead of Sheriff Will Lewis. He says that ceremony should take place in May.
Some of his other immediate priorities include getting more deputies on the road. Sheriff Brown says Greenville County is behind where it should be regarding a law enforcement to community population ratio.
He says that issue of public safety might have to be addressed by reorganizing the Sheriff’s Office.
Brown says he also wants to take a look at salaries in order to make sure the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is offering competitive salaries for deputies which he says is important in recruiting and retaining quality candidates.
Although there’s a lot of work to be done, Brown says he’s optimistic.
“I think I will enjoy more now than I did 17 years ago because I’m a little bit smarter than I was 17 years ago, I know a lot more than I did through experience, and I think I’ll be a better sheriff than I was,” Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown said.
However, some citizens have raised concerns over Brown’s appointment. The NAACP released the following statement on Wednesday:
The Greenville Branch of the NAACP #5522 is encouraged that Sheriff Will Lewis was held to the same standards as other citizens. The job of Sheriff does require a higher level of accountability of ethics and legal standards. As such, the NAACP will continue to monitor through this process. At this point is it important to comment on the progress of these indictments and the subsequent circumstances surrounding the vacancy of the Sheriff’s Office.
While the NAACP has great concerns about the partisan electoral process of a Sheriff for the entire County of Greenville, we have more immediate concerns about the Governor’s appointment of Johnny Mack Brown as Interim Sheriff.
While Interim Sheriff Brown was a long-term serving Greenville County Sheriff and has been awarded and applauded in the past, there are concerns. As far as the Minority Community, especially African Americans, Former Sheriff Brown’s administration was not fair and equitable to our community. There were employment issues with the few African American officers, as well as distributive and procedural justice issues in the overall minority community. These concerns are important because we are not sure how long the interim Sheriff will be in place. Former NAACP President, Dr. Robert Young brought these issues to then Sheriff Brown in a public meeting.
In light of our concerns and other pending matters, it is the intent of the Greenville NAACP to continue to monitor and dialogue with Law Enforcement in Greenville County. We will continue to bridge the communications gap between the overall community, especially communities of color and Law Enforcement, as we have the past four years.
Sheriff Brown has said he’s willing to have conversations with minority leaders and make sure that the Sheriff’s Office is engaging in fair practices.