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Retired law enforcment officer announces he'll run for sheriff in 2024

Gilbert, SC 10/06/2021 (Paul Kirby) - Billy Warren, a native Lexington County resident and businessman announced Tuesday that he is running for the office of Lexington County Sheriff in the 2024 election cycle. He made the announcement during a press conference at the Town of Gilbert’s Community Park surrounded by his family and a small group of friends and supporters.


During the conference, Warren said that when he is elected he will focus on crime prevention by having a proactive Sheriff Department that puts the public first. He also said that he has the experience to make that change in Lexington County and do so quickly once he’s in office.


Warren served with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department from 1985 to 1992 and graduated the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 1986. He later served with the South Carolina Highway Patrol from 1992-2017 where he attained the rank of sergeant. He retired after 32 years of service to the citizens of Lexington County and South Carolina.

Warren’s career experience includes working as a deputy with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, a state trooper, and sergeant of Advanced Training for the South Carolina Highway Patrol at the SC Criminal Justice Academy.


After retirement, he started 10 Zero Driving Academy. In his position as the owner of a driving school, Warren assist teenagers in Lexington County as well as the surrounding areas not only with obtaining their driver’s license but teaching them life saving techniques that can be used while driving.

“The training of officers in active listening and communication skills and putting officers in the neighborhoods will be the heartbeat of my department,” Warren said recently. I will be able to offer faster response times and more accountability to the citizens. Officers will be trained to provide services, not just react to the situation,” he added.


Warren is married and has two children. He operates his business in Lexington County where he has lived all of his life. Warren said he knows the citizens and the needs of the county.


After the end of his formal announcement, Warren said that being able to overcome manpower, hiring, and retainment issues is something that he would address quickly. He said that the current administration is spending too much money on overtime pay and a major cause of that drain is the jail. He called the Lexington County Detention Center’s staff, “depleted,” and said that currently, every member of the department that has a uniform, badge, and gun is having to cover the Detention Center’s staffing deficiencies. “We have to go in and fix these jail issues to relieve these deputies that are having to work on their days off. That’s one of the main reasons these deputies are leaving,” he said.


Warren also said that there were other issues that needed to be corrected that would allow the department to help attract deputies of various ranks and positions. “There’s a couple of things that could fixed right off the bat that the current administration won’t fix. There’s a couple of things there that we’ll have to get with county council on that include issues like insurance and retirement that need to be looked at that would help. You have to have an attractive package to bring officers in. Talking to other officers in surrounding departments right now, they have no desire to move over here and work.” He continued along the same line by saying, “It’s almost impossible to get certified officer right now and certification is just a part of the equation. You have to have experienced officers to prevent the need of having four or five officers respond to a scene where two experienced officers could be enough.”


When asked about the epidemic of dangerous drugs and whether enforcement was the only approach that would curtail these drug issues and related crimes Warren said, “Some of these people need help that’s available outside of law enforcement because they are stuck on these drugs. Putting them in a jail cell is not exactly the remedy. Often, they need medical help. Those dealing the drugs, we have an address for them, it’s called 521 Gibson Road (The Lexington County Detention Center).


In closing Warren said that he announced his run so early because he wanted to let all the residence of the county have an opportunity to get to know him. He said after Tuesday’s announcement he was going to begin meeting with singular citizens, citizens' and civic groups, and anyone who wished to make their concerns, ideas, and opinions know. “We want people to have an opportunity for the county's current deputies and citizens to learn what we’re about. Right now, it’s about who we are, what our goals are, and getting around and talking to the community.” He closed by saying, “We have to be known, we understand that. We’re going to be all over this county meeting people and letting them know who we are and what we stand for.”


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