LEXINGTON, S.C. – The Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation has honored eight Lexington County Sheriff’s Department employees and three individuals who volunteer their time to work with the department.
“We’re grateful for the support and resources the foundation provides to assist us in fulfilling our mission of serving and protecting the people of Lexington County,” Sheriff Jay Koon said. “Through its annual awards banquet, the foundation underscores its commitment to preserve the professional standards of our department.”
Koon said the foundation also provides funding for equipment, training and other supplies to assist deputies and correctional officers in carrying out their duties.
The foundation presented the following awards Thursday night during its annual awards banquet:
Deputy of the year: K9 Team Deputy Roy Hall Jr. and K9 Bono
Hall and Bono received the award for their May 2016 search that resulted in the arrest of three individuals connected to multiple homicides out of Florida. Hall and Bono tracked for nearly three miles in unfavorable conditions, ultimately finding two of the suspects in a shed and the other armed suspect in some undergrowth. Their efforts helped close one case, and may help Florida investigators solve the deaths of eight others.
Correctional officer of the year: Clayton Anderson
Anderson’s meticulous searches of incoming inmates resulted in 10 documented incidents of contraband being brought into the Lexington County Detention Center in 2016. Those efforts earned him officer of the month for both February and December. During one incident, a potentially deadly edged weapon was discovered. He plays an integral role in making the jail a safer place through his dedication and commitment to corrections.
Brian S. Mills first-year officer award: Deputy Tyler Watford
Watford joined LCSD in November 2015. In 2016, he filed almost 500 incident reports and conducted nearly 300 traffic stops. Watford’s actions show he not only handles the normal responsibilities of a deputy, but is proactive at combating high-crime areas. His traffic stops include the arrest of a suspect connected to a string of burglaries, the discovery of a mobile methamphetamine lab and several drug seizures, among others.
Civilian employee of the year: Ray Chandler
Chandler’s willingness to do more than expected and organizational skills has had a direct effect on his fast-paced unit’s effectiveness. Chandler volunteered to work a majority of 454 unstaffed hours when a co-worker was unable to work. In 2016, he processed 749 Non Ferrous Metals Permits, released 174 towed vehicles, processed 235 property checks and completed 35 selective traffic enforcement requests. He also designed the shift roster document and voluntarily assumed responsibility for updating the constantly changing rosters.
Reserve deputy of the year: Sgt. Eli Maoli
Maoli began his tenure on the reserves almost 10 years ago. Since then, he has logged more hours over the course of his career than any other reserve deputy. During the previous three years, Maoli has volunteered more than 1,700 hours. He also completed the field training program, allowing him to operate alone as fully-functioning patrol unit. Maoli has since taken responsibility for organizing several warrant sweeps executed by the reserve unit.
School resource officer of the year: Deputy Dominique Blasingame
Co-workers, school faculty, administration and students all recognized Blasingame throughout the year and pointed out his contributions to Swansea High School. Blasingame has been part of the LCSD family for more than 28 years. In 2016 alone, he took more than 68 incident reports, attended 98 school-related events, taught 15 law-related classes, handled 60 student/parent conferences and more. His colleagues speak of him as a leader, enforcer of the law and an advocate for poor and disadvantaged students.
Community service officer of the year: Sgt. Eric Kirkland
Kirkland’s tenacity and determination led to the closing down of a club that had become a pervasive community problem. Club Myxx was the focal point of several shootings, fights, thefts, alcohol violations and gang activity – yet management made no effort to follow orders of the court. Kirkland was tasked with coordinating the shutdown efforts. He collaborated with the State Law Enforcement Division, the South Carolina Department of Revenue, LCSD Narcotics Enforcement Team, LCSD General Counsel Dee Lide and LCSD’s north region patrol deputies. Kirkland’s plan led to the business owners surrendering their liquor license and subsequently closing the business.
Investigator of the year: Detective Nick Burt
Out of his 185 cases in 2016, Burt solved 41 by arrest. His 28 percent clearance rate stands far above the national average of 19 percent for property crimes. Burt’s investigations led to the arrests of two people tied to over 70 residential burglaries, the recovery of numerous stolen items and vehicles and also sparked a U.S. Secret Service Investigation for the manufacturing of counterfeit money. Burt either assisted or led a major property crime investigation nearly every month of the year.
First-line supervisor of the year: Lt. Luis Rivera
Commanding a scene during a major case takes a true leader, and Rivera was able to take charge of multiple cases during a single shift despite some obstacles. He was the first on-scene at a stabbing incident and established a successful operation that led to assisting the victim, the preservation of evidence and securing witnesses. Later that same night, Rivera directed the response to the second gas station robbery of the night despite having a flat tire. He was able to change the tire and maintain command and control of the incident scene.
Volunteer of the year: Linda Boyne
Boyne became a Victim Advocate Volunteer in June 2016. In a short amount of time, Boyne has proven what an asset she is to the LCSD family. She works exclusively as a partner to Tim Parcheta to focus on the Project Lifesaver program that helps locate missing vulnerable persons. Boyne conducts screening interviews for possible participants, keeps documents of all interactions and manages the batteries for the bracelets that are integral to the program. She also works to establish and maintain important relationships with program participants.
Explorer of the year: Sgt. Vicky Pankow
Pankow joined Explorer post #106 in 2015 and has demonstrated an eagerness to learn since day one. She distinguished herself as a squad sergeant and is responsible for putting together a weekly newsletter outlining the post’s training and community service activities. Pankow has volunteered to attend many community events, sometimes as herself and sometimes as McGruff the Crime Dog. Her positive attitude and willingness to train is noted by many.
Foundation board chair Becky Dickson also presented Tammy Taylor with an award from the board for playing a vital role in planning recent awards banquets and her dedication as a liaison between the foundation and the Sheriff's Department.
In addition to these annual awards, State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel presented former Lexington County Sheriff Lewis McCarty with the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian honor. Former Gov. Nikki Haley issued the award before leaving office. McCarty was recognized for his exemplary leadership while helming the department during a time of significant transition between June 2014 and April 2015.