Sheriff McBride cites drug seizures, reductions in other incidents

By Stan Welch
Pelzer Town Council met Monday night to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget for the coming year. But first Sheriff and candidate for reelection Chad McBride took the floor present his case for that reelection.
He began by acknowledging the unsettled political climate across the country, and the impact it has had on law enforcement. “It has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks. These ae scary times for law enforcement. We all know the basic danger involved in our jobs, but right now, tensions are very high and you might not see it coming.”
His puzzlement at the possibility of several cities cutting their police department’s funding, or even defunding them entirely was plain.
He reported that there had been three organized protests in the county in recent days. “We had one in Anderson and two in the Pendleton area. They were largely peaceable, but towards the end of each one, there were a few dozens bad actors that wanted to challenge us. The officers from all the various departments conducted themselves professionally and we didn’t have any real trouble. But let me make it clear. If you break the law, I don’t care what color your skin is. We’re coming after you. It’s that simple.”
He went on to cite statistics showing large increases in the amounts of drugs seized, as well as significant reductions in the occurrence of several felonies, including burglary, armed robbery, homicide, and assault.
He explained that the increased presence of his deputies in the area is largely the result in a realignment of the territories assigned.  “The previous sheriff divided the county into four quadrants, which were huge geographically. We have what we call beats, and there are nine of them. We have two deputies on patrol in each beat at any given time. I would like to add a beat this year, but COVID is having impacts everywhere, including the collection of revenues by the government.
County Council has been very supportive in helping us become very competitive in terms of salaries. We are retaining ninety four per cent of our officers now. That is essential to building a really efficient, professional police force.”
He spoke briefly about the opioid epidemic in the state and across the nation, and linked it to the growing heroin problem. “Since the proper agencies began really regulating the prescribing of opioids like oxycontin, more people are being forced to substitute heroin.” McBride pointed out that every one of his deputies is certified to administer Narcan, an aerosol that is used to treat overdoses on the scene. He credited West Pelzer Police officer Scott Stoller with conducting the vast majority of those certifications.
McBride answered several questions from the audience before mayor pro tem moved on to the public hearing on the budget. Predictably, the public hearing morphed into a town hall meeting, with the citizens conversing with each other as well as the council members. The second reading of the budget is scheduled for June 16. A meet and greet event will be held on July 2 at 7 p.m., two weeks before the special election for mayor and two council seats, scheduled for July 14.