Did you know that the first the first Chief of the SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was a Police Chief from Pelzer?
Following the repeal of Prohibition, the SC General Assembly passed Act No. 232, which established the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, for the purpose of enforcing the newly enacted State Liquor Laws. Governor Olin D. Johnston signed the Act into law on May 14, 1935.
Pelzer Police Chief and former Game Warden J. Henry Jeanes was appointed the first Chief of SLED by Governor Johnston.
Twenty one new officers were hired to enforce the liquor laws and augment the three existing officers in the State Constabulary.
State Constables had been enforcing the South Carolina laws since around 1800. During Reconstruction, the State Police Act established the State Constabulary in 1868 to protect the newly freed enslaved people and bring order following the Civil War. Following Reconstruction, the number of Constables was reduced. With passage of the Dispensary Act in 1892, additional State Constables here appointed to enforce the state’s monopoly of the sale of alcohol. Throughout the years, the number State Constables and scope of their duties varied from Governor to Governor.
Chief Jeanes and the newly created State Law Enforcement Division liquor enforcement officers were introduced at a statewide meeting of Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police and other law enforcement officers, on June 3, 1935. (Pictured Below)
J. Henry Jeanes served as Chief until his death on August 18, 1941.
This information is related to the SC’s Most Wanted exhibit currently on display at the historic Train Depot in Belton.
In the exhibit, visitors will see artifacts of the criminals, controversial cultural topics, and law enforcement officers of all branches that made headlines from the 1780s to 1980s.