LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts on Thursday, November 21 presented the Sheriff’s Medal, which is the highest law enforcement honor that the sheriff can bestow, to Lexington County Detention Center Designated Immigration Officer Kevin Farley and former county Detention Center Sgt. Ronald “Ron” O’Neill, who retired earlier this year. Metts made the presentations during a quarterly employee awards ceremony.
Metts presented the Sheriff’s Medal to Farley, 59, of Irmo, in recognition of the 2013 Partnership for Public Safety Award that Farley received from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Farley enforces federal immigration laws at the Detention Center under ICE’s supervision.
Farley was honored for going above his normal duties to support ICE’s mission, Metts said. Farley was one of only three recipients nationally of the Partnership for Public Safety Award, and Farley was the only correctional officer who received the award from ICE. On February 25, 2008, Metts appointed Farley to serve as a correctional officer at the Detention Center.
“Kevin is a valued member of a strong professional team at the Detention Center,” Metts said. “Kevin wants to make sure that everything is done right and that everyone is treated fairly.”
Kevin M. Thompson, who serves as an enforcement and removal operations supervisor for ICE in Columbia, said Farley consistently exceeds expectations as a designated immigration officer at the county Detention Center.
“This award is a partnership award, and Kevin’s flawless work jumped out at us,” Thompson said. “Kevin keeps up with changes in the process and has been fantastic to work with. Kevin personifies the partnerships that we rely upon.”
In 2010, the Sheriff’s Department signed an agreement with ICE to enforce federal immigration laws at the Detention Center under ICE’s supervision, Metts said. ICE provided training for Farley and four other correctional officers who enforce immigration laws at the Detention Center as part of the Section 287(g) Immigration Authority Delegation Program. ICE pays the Sheriff’s Department to house inmates who are in ICE’s custody at the Detention Center.
Metts also presented the Sheriff’s Medal to O’Neill, 55, of Spartanburg, who retired on July 19 as the training officer for the Detention Center. O’Neill served with the Sheriff’s Department for more than 31 years.
During his service with the Sheriff’s Department, O’Neill received the Sheriff’s Department Community Service Award, Major Tactical Operation Contribution Award, Special Achievement Award, Master Marksman Award, Safe Driver Award and Honorable Service Award, Metts said. O’Neill served on the agency’s Special Operations and Tactics Team (SWAT) and also served as a driving instructor.
“We will sorely miss Ron’s knowledge and experience,” Metts said.
During the employee awards ceremony, Metts also presented the Sheriff’s Department Meritorious Achievement Award to Kandace “Kay” Wood, 66, of Irmo. Wood retired on July 31 after five years of service as a victim assistance program coordinator. Wood worked with the Sheriff’s Department lawyer who prosecutes criminal domestic violence cases.
“Kay demonstrated great creativity in performing her job duties,” Metts said. “Kay had a pleasant attitude and a strong willingness to work with other people.”
In addition, Metts presented the Sheriff’s Department Meritorious Conduct Award to county Detention Center Correctional Officer David Kellogg, 55, of Leesville, who retired on September 21 after more than 13 years of service with the Sheriff’s Department. While he served with the Sheriff’s Department, Kellogg received the American Red Cross Blood Donor Award and the agency’s Honorable Service Award.
“David never complained about any duties that he was assigned to perform,” Metts said. “David frequently volunteered to fill in when fellow correctional officers were unable to report for duty to supervise inmates on a 12-hour shift in housing units at the Detention Center.”
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