PICKENS COUNTY — With the results of the June 14 Republican Primary in the books and no opposition from a Democratic candidate, Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark will be in office for four more years.
He said he has an eye toward improving and expanding the department’s successes from the last four.
Clark, completing his first term as head of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, was grateful to those who participated in the primary and felt it was less a win for himself and more of a win for his officers on the street.
“To begin with I want to share a big thank you to all of Pickens County, all the people who reelected us,” Clark said. “I say us because this is a great staff and with the vote it’s this staff the residents of the county get to keep. I think we are going to see the momentum we have built will keep going as we keep our citizens going right along with us in the fight on drugs and crime in our community.”
As for the continued efforts of the PCSO staff and leadership Clark would like to see growth on the successes of his first term. For example the Community Action Team (CAT) created during Clark’s first tenure. The CAT team was established to work hand in hand with residents in bringing down drug related crimes and crimes against property.
“I would like to see us expand the CAT team concept we have been working under with one team for nights and one for days,” Clark said. “Drug dealers are at it 24 hours a day seven days a week and we need to be able to do the same as effectively as we can. The CAT team has made a difference with the residents of Pickens County and we need to capitalize on that to be even more effective.”
Some headway has also been made with county government to deal with jail overcrowding, an issue for several years as the detention facility regularly runs at nearly double its rated capacity, in a couple of ways as Clark pointed out. County council has allotted some $23 million toward a solution as well as some made some staffing decisions which are a positive impact.
“County council added a public defender and a solicitor position which will make a big difference I believe,” Clark said. “By adding these personnel there will be an opportunity to expedite cases and get them to circuit court dockets quicker which will help decrease our daily population average.”
Not only is there a sign of change on the horizon concerning the detention center and new members of the prosecutorial process but new technology which will be in place in the next three months which will allow PCSO personnel to train for up to 500 scenarios where deadly force may be needed.
The new virtual reality training simulator, which should be online in approximately three months, uses laser sighted weapons along with regular tactical equipment to train officers for possible in the field situations.
“One of the things I think that is going to pay big dividends for this department is going to be the virtual reality simulator,” Clark said. “Now, when the actions of officers on the streets are being scrutinized so closely, having the ability to train our officers in so many scenarios, even those we can program ourselves, where the use of force of is concerned is a big plus.”
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.