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Retired career law enforcement officer says he will run against Koon in 2020

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Retired career law enforcement officer David Arnold has announced that he will run against Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon for sheriff in 2020. Arnold has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and at one point was a captain with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department he said recently. He held many positions while with Lexington County and eventually had the position of North Region Commander, the area north of the Lake Murray dam. He resigned in 2010 from that job and the LCSD to pursue his interest in career opportunities in Homeland Security according to Arnold. In that LCSD captain's position, he said he led the region to record lows in crime statistics, not through his solo actions, but by leading a great group of men and women who were well trained and eager to come to work, Arnold said during a recent interview with The Ledger.

After his resignation, Arnold worked for the City of Columbia revamping their Homeland Security Department and planning for emergencies and reviewing and developing plans for major incidents and disasters. He retired their in 2014. He says he has a two master’s degrees in law enforcement areas of study and a Doctorate in Criminology. He also said he has taken well over 500 courses in law enforcement and management training in the field.

Arnold is the grandson of the Ben Arnold, a well-known Columbia businessman and philanthropist, who passed away in 1963. His father was Norman Arnold, also a businessman and philanthropist, who died in 2016. Although most of the Arnold’s real estate holdings and businesses are still in their family and being run by a family member, the law enforcement bug bit David Arnold early in life. In an interview Thursday, March 7th, Arnold said, “I am at a point in my life where I am blessed and fortunate. I am not doing this for the money, I am doing this because of the outcry of the citizens and public of Lexington County. If I’m elected, I will not take any salary at all; Instead, I will donate all of my pay to charity.”

Arnold says that he doesn’t know current Sheriff Brian “Jay” Koon personally, and has only met the man a few times in passing. He holds no personal ill-will toward the man. Instead, he cited the high turnover rate of deputies and other employees of the Sheriff’s Department and the difficulty the department has had filling positions as just one of the reasons that the department needs a change at the top. “I have nothing against Sheriff Koon personally,” Arnold said. “I’ve heard from hundreds that the morale at the department is at an all time low and that is directly attributed to a lack of leadership at the highest level of the department; that starts with the sheriff.”

Arnold said that if elected, he would focus first on improving the morale of the department’s personnel, which in turn would help solve their staffing problems. He said that Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines was once speaking about the people who surrounded him. Arnold said that the core of his message was that he wanted his staff, the men and women who he employed, and the people who surrounded himself with, to be happy with what they do. “I want the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department to be happy,” Arnold said. “Once that happens, we can begin to alleviate staffing problems, return to a point where the department had a waiting list of applicants as it once did, and then return to aggressive enforcement while still focusing on community involvement as a key tool to keeping the peace countywide.”

Arnold said he’d also focus on helping retirees’ transition when they leave the job. He said many feel lost and don’t know what to do with themselves when they aren’t reporting for duty anymore. “These people have given their lives in service, and a small retirement gathering shouldn’t be their last interaction with the department,” Arnold said. He also plans to revamp the reserve program to use those deputies who patrol alongside the full-time staff in a more efficient way. “These people do this job out of a love for the job and they save the citizens of the county thousands annually. That program is a shell of what it once was, but with the correct leadership, it can once again be a great asset to the department.”

Arnold said that he would be a working sheriff with an open-door policy to all employees. He also said that personnel at every level shouldn’t be surprised to see him show up on a call at 2:00 a.m. on any given morning. “I wouldn’t be there to take over,” Arnold said. “I’d be there in an assisting position to help our field deputies, sergeants, lieutenants, and other personnel in any way they need. It wouldn’t take them long to learn that they wouldn’t need to be intimidated by my presence; they’d know I was there to lend a hand in whatever way I could.”

Since his retirement, Arnold has continued to be a strong supporter of law enforcement. Several years ago, he made a personal donation of $10,000 to the West Columbia Police Department’s Foundation. That money was used to provide additional assault rifles for officers so that their weapons would be a match with the ones now being used by criminals. Arnold said he has always loved law enforcement and still does to this day. “If elected, not only will I be a great leader to the rank and file personnel of the department, I will also be a statesman to the citizens of Lexington County. I have and will continue to hear their concerns and work tirelessly to lead us to a better place regarding making the county’s citizens feel safe and protected.”

Arnold said that he already has a staff of volunteers who are building a website and social presence. He welcomes contact from anyone interested in his campaign. He said that you can now e-mail him at or call him directly at (803) 606-6832.

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