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Home  |  News  |  Sheriff reflects on partnerships, training and Florida's Trayvon Martin case‏

Sheriff reflects on partnerships, training and Florida's Trayvon Martin case‏
Friday, May 25, 2012

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC - On Friday May 25, 2012 Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott was joined by Dr. Lonnie Randolph of the NAACP, Counsel General Flores of the Mexican Consulate for the Carolinas, Basith Mohammed, President of the South Carolina Chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations, President of the Columbia Region Korean Association Ms. Hyun, The Executive Director for SC Equality Christine Johnson and members of the Sheriff’s Department Citizen Advisory Council, Community Leaders and Deputies for a press conference. The press conference was to discuss the diversity of Richland County and how the Sheriff’s Department mirrors that diversity – how the Sheriff’s vision is to build relationships of trust and unity through having direct connections with every person, community and organization no matter ethnicity, religion, sex or gender.

For the past 38 years Leon Lott has worked toward improving the quality of life for ALL citizens – his passion and vision is to have a crime watch in every single neighborhood, to have open communication with ALL citizens, to provide service and assistance to ALL citizens and to aggressively enforce the law. This vision and passion has included creating one of the most diverse law enforcement agencies in the Southeast and having the most pro-active internal and external training programs possible.

Sheriff Leon Lott knows that the training of deputies goes far beyond how to make arrests or drive a car – it must include how to work with and deal with ALL people and how to better understand different cultures. He also knows that the training of citizens goes far beyond telling them to have a crime watch in their community – it must include how to address crime and critical incidents as they occur and what to do and what not to do when they arise.

The Trayvon Martin case in Florida has raised a ton of questions for citizens across the United States. Since it occurred, the Sheriff’s department has fielded questions on what specifically we teach our citizens to do in the event crimes occur in our communities. The Sheriff has stood on the premise that citizens are the eyes and ears of law enforcement – that citizens are responsible for looking out for their neighbors and for reporting to law enforcement suspicious activity or crimes in progress. The passive and consistent training of our citizens has lead to countless captures of suspects and prevention of crimes.

Sheriff Leon Lott knows that trust is the corner stone for building stronger neighborhoods – when Deputies look like you, speak your language and understand your culture and beliefs there is trust and relationships that are built. The Sheriff works every day to foster relationships which in turn fights crime and captures criminals. The Sheriff understands that outreach and communication with our citizens is how we address community concerns and partnerships with the tremendously divers population that is Richland County. Sheriff Leon Lott has deputies assigned to work with every demographic group in Richland County. Having Hispanic, Korean, Muslim, African American, Female, Male, Gay-Lesbian/Bi-sexual personnel on staff working with over 300 crime watches; making crime fighting and improving the quality of life easier and more effective.

Training of ALL personnel is also paramount to the success of a law enforcement agency. Sheriff Leon Lott employs staffing that is responsible for training on outreach, cooperation, communication and partnership building with ALL cultures. This cultural diversity training, conducted for the last 15 years, has been priceless toward building trust, solving crime and creating a safer Richland County. The Sheriff believes that the education and empowerment of our personnel (whether through furthering their professional/collegiate education or advanced law enforcement and diversity training) creates the most professional agency as well.

The broadening of our Deputies minds through extensive training is coupled with a citizen advisory council (made up of 20 community leaders that represent the different demographic groups within the County) who review our procedures, policies and actions – all in an effort by the Sheriff to make sure our citizens understand what we do and have input in how we provide services.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the Trayvon Martin case should cause everyone in public service to reflect how and why we provide service to our citizens – in Richland County we have been reflecting and preparing our Deputies and Citizens to fight crime together. Through trust, empowerment and understanding – Together we are Building Unity in the Community through Professionalism, Passion, Vision and Commitment.

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