Lancaster County Sheriff Barry S. Faile was presented the 2018 Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement by United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon Friday, October 26, 2018, during a luncheon at the Fort Jackson Officers’ Club in Columbia. The award was presented on behalf of the United States Attorney’s Office Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association, and the Strom Thurmond Foundation. The awards were established in 1983 by the late Senator Strom Thurmond and are presented each year to a city, county, state, and federal law enforcement officer who has demonstrated the highest ideals of excellence in professional law enforcement.
Sheriff Faile began his career in law enforcement almost three decades ago when he became a deputy at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. He worked his way through the ranks as a criminal investigator, a narcotics investigator, commander of the Multijurisdictional Drug Task Force, patrol captain, and chief deputy before being elected sheriff in 2009. He was named Sheriff of the Year by the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association earlier this year and is 1st vice president of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association. He is immediate past president of the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.
Sheriff Faile’s nomination cited a long list of firsts in the history of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office since his election which have improved the delivery of law enforcement services to the citizens of the county. The sheriff’s office was accredited by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation Coalition in 2011 and by the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in 2013. Grants totaling over $5 million have funded many projects including special units focused on traffic law enforcement, driving under the influence, sexual assault, domestic violence, and opioid abuse. Sheriff Faile has employed cutting edge technology throughout the sheriff’s office. Deputies have computers and cameras in their patrol vehicles and body-worn cameras on their uniforms. Sheriff Faile hired a crime analyst, and a computer based crime mapping program, Crime TRAC, creates statistical and mapping data that is reviewed by supervisors in bi-weekly meetings to note crime trends and formulate strategies to combat them. Bond hearings are conducted by video conference between the detention center and the courts. The sheriff’s office and all emergency responders in the county now use a new 800 mhz radio system. Through business partnerships, Sheriff Faile installed a use of force simulator in the training facility on 15th Street. The training center is a city-county partnership which attracts police, fire, and emergency medical services personnel from throughout the state and beyond.
Other specialized units within the sheriff’s office include a professional standards unit, a crime scene team with four nationally certified crime scene investigators, a Special Weapons and Tactics Team, and a crowd control team. Sheriff Faile revamped the hiring process at the sheriff’s office to ensure the best qualified candidates become deputies. The process includes a physical fitness test and psychological and polygraph examinations. He implemented a salary career ladder to provide incentives to his officers and increase retention rates.
Community services include crime prevention and crime watch programs. The crime watch program expanded from 12 to 37 communities in two years under Sheriff Faile’s direction. A new senior services program was launched this year. Sheriff’s office employees regularly participate in South Carolina Special Olympics events and raised over $20,000 for the organization in 2017 and 2018. Sheriff Faile and the department support and participate in programs sponsored by the Lancaster County Coalition for Healthy Youth and Promise Neighborhood. An active group of citizen volunteers regularly assist with administrative functions at the sheriff’s office.
Attached is a photograph of Sheriff Faile (second from right) accepting the award with (left to right) Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor Strom Thurmond, Jr., United States