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Welcome to Charleston County Government Online

Our Mission:  We will promote and protect the quality of life in Charleston
County by delivering services of value to the community.

Sheriff's Office

Contact Information, Office Hours
Functions, Office Responsibilities
FAQ's, Common Terms, History, Interesting Facts
Current Elected Official Biographical Information
Sheriff's Office Home Page


Law Enforcement Patrol
Civil Process
Court Security
Community Oriented Policing
Investigative Services
Traffic Enforcement
Special Teams

The Sheriff's Office focuses primarily on public safety. This includes many responsibilities, ranging from community programs and court security to investigations and detention. The two main components of the Sheriff's Office are law enforcement and detention.

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Responsibilities of the Sheriff's Office


dot Executive Staff
- Provide administrative support for all Sheriff's Office divisions
dot Police Chaplaincy Program
- Minister to victims and accused through 25 clergymen of various faiths and denominations


dot Canine Team
- Employ bloodhounds to locate or detect suspects or missing persons
- Use specially trained dogs to detect drugs, find cadavers, conduct building searches and assist with crowd control techniques
dot Crime Analysis
dot Criminal Investigations Division
- Investigate crimes involving juveniles through its Youth Intervention Unit
- Investigate crimes such as murder, sexual assault, assault and armed robbery through its Adult Criminal Investigations/Crimes Against Persons Unit
- Investigate crimes such as burglary, vandalism, larceny and white-collar crimes through its Adult Criminal Investigations/Crimes Against Property Unit
dot KOPS In Schools
- Provide deputies for security at Charleston County schools
dot Marine Patrol
- Assist boaters in distress
- Support the Underwater Recovery Team
- Provide law enforcement support to other agencies in the tri-county area patrol
- Conduct preventative patrols
- Initiate crime prevention programs
- Respond to calls for service
- Handle minor investigations
- Provide traffic management
- Enforce applicable laws
- Provide emergency services
dot Reserve Deputy Program
- Provide voluntary support for the department
dot Special Weapons and Tactics Team
- Provide a coordinated response to crisis incidents such as hostage or barricaded gun man situations, civil disturbances and security operations
dot Technical Services Unit
- Process crime scenes
- Maintain custody of evidence for use during the judicial process
dot Training
- Coordinate in-house training for certification
dot Underwater Recovery Team
- Respond to water-related emergencies
- Search for submerged evidence
- Map underwater areas in order to reconstruct scenes for legal proceedings
dot Violent Crime Task Force
dot Weed and Seed

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Special Operations

dot Animal Control
- Remove strays and animals that are unleashed in or near roadways
- Transport injured animals
- Investigate animal abuse or neglect
- Respond to citizens' complaints concerning vicious, wild and nuisance animals in the unincorporated areas of Charleston County
dot Civil Process
- Serve official court documents, including summons and complaints, claims and delivery, evictions and notices
dot Community Services/DARE
- Teach DARE programs at Charleston County schools
- Promote program objectives throughout the public sector
dot Court Security
- Protect the General Sessions and Family Court
- Operate metal detection equipment
- Transport prisoners from the Detention Center
- Serve jury summons for General Sessions that are returned by the post office as "undeliverable"
dot Fugitives and Extraditions
dot Retired Law Enforcement Officer Program
- Utilize retirees to augment full-time deputies in the performance of specialized services
dot Transportation
- Transport individuals who are in custody
dot Warrants
- Serve numerous types of warrants, including Magistrate's Warrants, Bench Warrants and juvenile orders for detention.

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Office of Executive Concerns

dot Aviation
dot Drug Enforcement Administration/Trident Narcotics Task Force
- Focus on major cases involving illicit narcotics and organized crime
dot Grants and Services
dot Metro-Narcotics
- Investigate crimes related to illicit narcotics, serial-type crimes, extremely violent crimes and murders that are gang or drug related
dot Metro-Vice
- Investigate illegal activities such as gambling, prostitution, liquor production and sales, pornography, weapons and organized crime
dot School Guards
dot Special Projects
dot Traffic

Office of Professional Standards

dot Internal Affairs
dot Staff Auditor
dot Ticket Control
- Track, inventory and certify all tickets written by Charleston County Sheriff's deputies

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Administrative Services

dot Communications
- Answer administrative and emergency 9-1-1 calls
- Dispatch deputies
- Check for "wanted" persons, drivers licenses, tags and stolen items, and radio information to deputies in the field
dot Computer Systems Integration
dot Finance/Budget
dot Personnel
dot Records
- Maintain all reports submitted by deputies and various employees, including dispositions, expungement, chauffeur's licenses, criminal background checks and case files
dot Supply

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dot Adult Detention Center
dot Classification
dot Communications
dot Community Services Program
dot Control Center
- Monitor inmate movement throughout all areas of the Detention Center
- Monitor other security-related devices and systems, such as personal alarm transmitters, sensors, telephones and fire detection equipment
dot Environ/Canteen
dot Food Services
dot General Inmate Housing
dot Identification Unit
- Take mugshots (computer imaging) and fingerprints for inmate processing and in support of other local, state and federal agencies
dot Intake/Releasing Units
- Process arrestees into and out of Detention Center personnel tracking systems
- Acquire and record detailed personal information
- Collect money and personal property from inmates
dot Juvenile Annex
dot Maximum Security Housing
dot Medical Unit
dot Tactical Action Control Team
dot Training
dot Transportation
- Transport inmates to other corrections facilities, medical institutions, mandated court appearances and other locations
dot Work Camp

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The Sheriff's Office Does Not

dot Respond to routine, non-emergency calls for service within the jurisdictions of municipal law enforcement agencies
dot Enforce city ordinances within the limits of the municipality unless that ordinance has been adopted as a County ordinance

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:   Do Sheriff's deputies have authority within the municipalities?
A:   The Sheriff has jurisdiction throughout Charleston County, but deputies normally do not respond to routine, non-emergency calls for service within the jurisdictions of municipal law enforcement agencies. Sheriff's Office deputies will assist other law enforcement agencies upon request and will respond to situations within the County when deemed necessary to ensure public safety. The Sheriff's Office does engage in certain routine activities such as civil process, detention and warrants on a countywide basis. The Sheriff has the authority to enforce state law throughout the County, including incorporated areas. Deputies do not have the authority to enforce a city ordinance within the limits of the municipality unless that ordinance has been adopted as a County ordinance.
Q:   I'm confused about jurisdiction. How do I know who to call when I have an emergency?
A:   When you call 9-1-1 during an emergency, your call is automatically directed to the appropriate law enforcement agency for your area.
Q:   Have all of the inmates at the Detention Center been convicted of a crime?
A:   No, the center accommodates a variety of inmate classifications, including pre-trail detainees.
Q:   Why have I seen inmates moving about freely in County buildings?
A:   Inmates at the Charleston County Detention Center are classified by various categories. Those who meet certain criteria are allowed to work on County-sanctioned work projects under the supervision of Sheriff's Office personnel. Work project inmates are under incarceration for nonviolent crimes and usually have specialized skills useful for County work projects. Inmates wear a variety of uniform items to designate their status and the type of work to be performed, but all are clearly identified as Detention Center inmates.

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Common Terms

DARE, Drug Abuse Resistance Education-- Deputies assigned to Community Services teach DARE programs at Charleston County schools and promote the objectives of teaching life skills to resist drugs and alcohol.

Fugitive Extradition-- A program which deals with individuals who are considered "fugitives from justice." Once located, these individuals are taken into custody and returned (extradited) to their respective jurisdictions.

General Inmate Housing-- Inmates assigned to general housing units have some freedom of movement and are allowed to participate in various programmed activities.

Juvenile Annex-- A 20-bed facility built in 1967 which accommodates juvenile detainees while they await legal disposition by the Family Court.

Maximum Security Housing-- High-security fixtures, steel doors with remote electronic controls and the use of restraints during inmate movement distinguish these units from general inmate housing. Inmates housed in this unit have no freedom of movement, are denied canteen and television privileges and are subject to restrictions of recreation time, visitation and other privileges.

TAC Team,Tactical Action Control Team-- A Detention Center team specially trained in procedures for extricating defiant inmates.

Violent Crime Task Force-- A multi-agency strategy designed to prevent and control violent crime impacting the "Weed and Seed" target area.

Weed and Seed-- A comprehensive, multi-agency approach to combating violent crime, drug use and gang activity in high crime neighborhoods.

Work Camp-- A minimum security annex to the main Detention Center. The facility, which was built with inmate labor, accommodates 96 inmates. Because of their minimum security status, the inmates are assigned to various jobs within the facility and are permitted to work at job sites located throughout the County.

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Over 1,200 years ago, England's Anglo-Saxon communities established "shires" which were territorial divisions comparable to our modern-day counties. The local "reeves" or chieftains who maintained law and order in these shires were known as "scir-reeves." The term eventually evolved into "Sheriff." The methods used for subsequent appointments and the titles of office varied by region.

In 1671, the title Sheriff was applied to South Carolina's Chief Justice and the sheriff's duties were performed by the Provost Marshal. The Circuit Court Act of 1769 abolished the Office of Provost Marshal and established a sheriff for each of the circuit court districts to be appointed by the General Assembly. After the Revolutionary War, the circuit court districts were divided into counties, and Sheriffs were elected to four-year terms by the general public. The Sheriff's duties were serving court papers, collecting delinquent taxes, operating the jail and enforcing law and order.

In South Carolina, Deputy Sheriffs and constables performed duties which overlapped and shifted from one to the other. With the extensive area of Charleston County, it became necessary in 1906 to provide rural police, then under the direction of the Sheriff. In 1925, a Rural Police Commission was established and appointed the officers, who were managed by the Sheriff.

The Charleston County Police Department, created in 1937, was administered by a commission of area residents. With the creation of Charleston County Council in 1948, Council assumed all powers vested by law in the Police Commission. Council abolished the commission and placed oversight responsibility with a three-person council committee. In 1952, County Council abolished the three-person committee and placed the control of the police department under a Police Commission comprising seven members of Council, with the Sheriff as an ex-officio member. The next year, the Police Commission was abolished and the Police Department was again put under Council's control. The Charleston County Sheriff's Office merged with the County Police Department in January of 1991.

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Interesting Facts

dot The Charleston County Sheriff's Office is the oldest in South Carolina.
dot The Sheriff's Office has a home page on the Internet. The address is:
dot The Sheriff's Office has won the following National Association of Counties' Achievement Awards:
                    1993 - Finance and Budgeting
                    1994 - Sheriff/Public Defender Liaison
                    1996 - Finance and Budgeting
                                Retired Deputy Program
dot The adult Detention Center, one of the most modern jail facilities in South Carolina, averages approximately 1,000 inmates daily, over 70 percent of whom are awaiting trial.

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Contact Information

(In case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1)

Sheriff's Office
3505 Pinehaven Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405
(843) 202-1700
(843) 554-2447 (Fax)

West District Substation (James Island)
615 Riverland Drive
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 308-7334 or (843) 308-7335

East District Substation
1189 Sweetgrass Basket Pkwy
Mount Pleasant, SC 29466
(843) 856-1208 or (843) 856-1209

South District Substation
5962 Highway 165
Ravenel, SC 29470
(843) 889-2492

Civil Processing and General Sessions Court
Judicial Center
100 Broad Street, Suite 364
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 958-2111

Office Hours

8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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