By Ashton Pellom - email
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, SC (WBTV) -
The first hopeful to be Chesterfield County's new Sheriff has thrown his hat into the race.
Mike Irvin is running for the seat in the upcoming primary election in June because former Chesterfield Sheriff, Sam Parker, was suspended in March and indicted by the state grand jury on charges of embezzlement and misconduct.
Irvin made it clear Tuesday afternoon that he's ready to be the next sheriff of Chesterfield County and wasted no time addressing the elephant in the room.
"Recent events call into question the integrity of leadership in law enforcement, its role in our community and the safety of our family and communities at large," said Irvin.
Irvin is referring to currently suspended Sheriff Sam Parker. State officials say Parker took money on behalf of the sheriff's office and deposited it into his personal bank account.
Authorities also say the former sheriff let friends carry badges without training, gave away weapons to people he knew, and let inmates have unsupervised visits with women and sleep outside jail with access to TV and alcohol.
"What the county needs is a sheriff who can restore the public's trust," said resident Chancey Godwin.
"I think there are still some good guys there and I just want to turn the image around and improve relations with the citizens of the county," said Irwin.
The 39-year-old Marine veteran is a former police chief of the McBee Police Department.
He also worked for the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office from 2002 until January of this year as a narcotics investigator.
During that time, the sheriff's office made national news when deputies unlawfully euthanized more than 20 dogs by shooting them in a nearby landfill at its then county-run animal shelter.
"I wasn't involved in anything negative with that department and I'm here to make a positive change in Chesterfield County," said Irvin.
If elected, Irvin says he will form a community advisory council, crack down on burglaries and illegal drugs, and help keep youth out of gangs.
"With you support, we can and will restore public trust in law enforcement with a renewed focus on protecting what matters the most, the people and future of Chesterfield County," said Irvin.
So far, Irvin is the only candidate of any political party to make an announcement for the sheriff's position.
Interim sheriff Rob Lee has taken over during the investigation of suspended Sheriff Sam Parker.
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