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South Congaree Police Department dwindling to just two officers by end of next week according to multiple sources

South Congaree, SC 04/24/2024 (Paul Kirby) – Multiple sources have confirmed that within the next few weeks, the South Congaree Police Department that once boasted enough officers for almost 24/7 police protection will be down to just one full-time officer and the town’s part-time Interim Police Chief Mike Gordan. The exodus of officers started just after the last election that was held in April.


According to our sources, South Congaree’s SRO that worked Congaree Elementary will be leaving to go to work for the Pine Ridge Police Department, and Officer Brooks is leaving for a job at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Again, this has been confirmed by multiple sources.

Please keep in mind that because South Congaree residents pay property taxes to the county, so the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department will respond to calls within the town just as they would do if a South Congaree officer had called for backup. If a South Congaree resident calls 911 and no town officer was available, the call would be put in the LCSD’s queue and responded to by the seriousness of what’s happening.


Another source has confirmed that long-time Police Chief Josh Shumpert and 5 others resigned their positions just before or within days or weeks of the last municipal election in April. This includes all the reserve officers that were able to carry out all the duties of a career or paid officer, they just did those jobs without being compensated. Those officers were quickly put on the rolls of the Gaston Police Department that welcomes the extra FREE help.


Some wonder if the town needs a Police Department simply because they cannot and have not been able to hold court in some time on the town’s pending cases. The clerk of court left months ago after providing ample notice, and the town has not been able to fill that position. This means that there’s a large backlog of cases that’s growing because of the issues with the court and its clerk position being vacant.


When Chief Josh Shumpert resigned the South Congaree Police Department just prior to the most recent election, he posted on his social media a long open letter to the people of South Congaree. In it he wrote, “There are so many different ways I could write this and so many different things I could say but I feel, that I owe this to myself and to the community that I served for 20 years.


As everyone knows, after much thought and prayer I decided to resign from my position as police chief in South Congaree.  I will be continuing to further my career in Law Enforcement at another agency.


I want to first thank the majority of the community for their support of me through the years, and my wife and kids for having to put up with me. I would not have been able to make it or continue on if it wasn’t for you guys and you know who you are.


I grew up in South Congaree and this is where my parents grew up their whole childhood.  I started volunteering in the police department when I was in high school and from there, my love for law enforcement began. I have seen things that I don’t wish on my worst enemies, the secrets from cases, and calls I have been on in the little town will go with me to my grave. I feel that I did my best to keep the community safe while also being fair and understanding with people.


Being the chief in South Congaree for the past 10 years has been a blessing and a curse. I have gained a lot of knowledge and I’ve got to meet a lot of great people in law enforcement. This community has an election coming up in April. Please understand and really do your homework on who you are voting on to represent you in your town. Some may sound good or look good on the surface but are really fake just below the surface.” At this point, Chief Shumpert suggested that three particular candidates would do the best job in representing the town and not personal agendas. He continued by saying that in his opinion, those candidates would continue to support the police officers and the department. He picked up again saying, “They (the police officers) will need it (the elected officials support) to continue to do their jobs.


Shumpert concluded by saying, “Lastly, I want to thank my officers for their support and dedication over the years and to the reserve officers who do this for free but somehow seem to get ridiculed by others. You can’t please everyone, and we all make mistakes, all you can try and do is what you feel in your heart is right.


The South Congaree Police Department has nearly 100 years of combined experience from officers working there which is unheard of in most agencies that size. However, some of the (elected) leadership still want to try to micromanage or act like they are the police. Thank you all again for allowing me to have served as your chief. Stay safe, and God bless South Congaree.”


It remains to be seen as to how soon South Congaree’s Police Department will be able to hire enough officers to get the department back into a position where they can get close to having 24/7 police protection again. Currently, one official we spoke with said that although they have the openings for full-time officers posted, they have not received many if any applications for qualified officers. Small town’s like South Congaree don’t often hire uncertified officers because getting a rookie through the SC Criminal Justice Academy and then field training takes almost a year. During that period, you have to pay that uncertified officer and have in ride with a certified officer until he has the training and certifications under their belts.


May 26

In the original post Chief Shumpert listed 3 candidates by name in the post he thought would best serve the Town of South Congaree. Those names are not shown in the LL post of the Chief's letter. Why were those names removed,? Even thought it is after the election I feel those names should still be posted, they be recognized as having the Chief's support. Just a thought.


May 25

Well I think he was the best of the best an he was fare to all.just hope the power these officers get an have does not be used to push younger ppl around .it means a lot for a officer to take up time with younger ppl be a friend to those who think nobody cares.ill pray for all officers but the ones that will be in South do the best they can while staying safe I want to thank all officers every where for there service.

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