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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts was sworn in at 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 3 for his 11th elected term in office during an Oath of Office Ceremony that was conducted at the Lexington County Administration Building, 212 South Lake Drive, Lexington.

Metts, 66, attained his 11th elected term in office as Lexington County’s chief law enforcement officer during the November 2012 general election.

South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal administered the oath of office to Metts and six additional elected officials in Lexington County.

“Public service is a vocation,” Toal said. “There will never be a more distinguished person than James R. Metts to hold the office of sheriff of Lexington County.”

When Metts took the oath of office, Metts became the longest-serving sheriff in South Carolina who currently holds the office of sheriff. Metts first took the oath of office as sheriff on December 15, 1972, when Gov. John Carl West, Sr. appointed Metts to complete the unexpired term of Metts’ predecessor.

“I am proud of the professionalism of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department,” Metts said. “Our agency’s proven, professional law enforcement team will continue to work to curb criminal activity, reduce the amount of time that it takes deputies to respond to citizens’ calls for help and build partnerships with citizens across Lexington County.”

Metts has established a reputation as an innovative law enforcement administrator and leader in the field of criminal justice, both in South Carolina and the nation. He teaches classes for law enforcement professionals and criminal justice students at the collegiate level.

In 2009, Metts received the Advocate of the Year award from the South Carolina National Safety Council in recognition of the leadership role that Metts played in promoting the Alive at 25 driver-safety program for young drivers.

Metts was the first South Carolina sheriff to hire school resource officers, victims’ assistance officers and certified female law enforcement officers. He also was the first sheriff to implement mandatory drug screening and psychological testing of prospective deputies.

In South Carolina, Metts was the first sheriff to assign a team of deputies to conduct traffic enforcement patrols to arrest motorists who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In 1992, the National Safety Council presented Metts with “The J. Stannard Baker Traffic Safety Award,” which is the nation’s highest honor for contributions to highway safety.

Metts led the effort to create the Lexington County Criminal Domestic Violence Court, which was the first court in South Carolina dedicated to handle domestic violence cases. The court includes a treatment program for abusers and their families. Metts hired two detectives to investigate domestic violence cases as well as a lawyer to prosecute such cases in court.

Metts earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, a master’s degree in criminal justice and a doctorate in education, all from the University of South Carolina. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, National Sheriff’s Institute, National Corrections Academy, South Carolina Executive Institute and Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In 2004, Gov. Mark Sanford awarded Metts the Order of the Silver Crescent, which is the highest civilian honor awarded in South Carolina for community service.
In 1998, Gov. David Beasley awarded Metts the Order of the Palmetto, which is the highest civilian honor that a governor can bestow in South Carolina.
Metts, who is an Eagle Scout, received the Silver Beaver Award, which is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America.

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