BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.–As the clock ticks down to the time folks in Berkeley County head to the polls, Wayne Dewitt is hoping they’ll once again vote him in as sheriff. It’s a position he’s held since 1995 having first started his career in law enforcement more than thirty years ago with the Holly Hill Police Department.
He recently appeared on The Bryan Crabtree Show to discuss crime in Berkeley County as well as several of other crime-related issues.
With more people moving to the county, automatically one might assume crime is bound to increase, but Dewitt says not necessarily.
“Berkeley County is the fastest growing in the state of South Carolina, so we are having a population boom to a certain extent,” said Dewitt on the show. “A lot of people say more people more crime. Actually, our statistics show that in 2013, especially in violent crimes, it had dropped somewhat compared to 2012. I’m sure as the population increases, and if the economy doesn’t make a big swing upwards, then we’re probably going to have some more problems.”
However, Dewitt says his department is ready to use all the resources it has to combat any problems.
“We have a good local relationship with all the police chiefs and Sheriff Cannon, Sheriff Knight. If we have to tap into their resources, we’ll do that as well,” said Dewitt.
When it comes to copper thefts throughout the county, he says it’s still a problem.
“It’s dropped somewhat. Not to the level that we’d like to have it. We’ve not seen an increase in the last year. It’s kind of leveled off, maybe not as bad as it was in 2012/2011,” added Dewitt.
After the body of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was recently found inside his New York apartment, allegedly dead from a heroin overdose, the question has now been raised as to whether heroin is becoming the new drug of choice.
According to Dewitt, the drug is no stranger to Berkeley County.
“I think we’re seeing an upswing with the problem of heroin, and from what I’ve learned from DEA officials and other drug enforcement units, a lot of it is actually coming from Mexico. We have a fairly large and growing Hispanic population in our area now,” stated Dewitt.
Dewitt says “Black Tar Heroin” is the drug more commonly found locally.
“I know we’ve had problems in Hanahan. Three or four years ago we busted a large group of Hispanics that were bringing the “Black Tar Heroin” into our county and to Charleston and actually seized a house in Hanahan. We were able to sell that house,” said Dewitt.
On the topic of marijuana, Dewitt says even though several states have already made it legal to use, he believes it’s a bad idea.
“I’m not in favor of legalizing marijuana. I have a son who began with marijuana and ended up doing some hard drugs –so people don’t have to tell me the harm that drugs do to a family. I know firsthand,” said Dewitt. “I just think when you legalize it, it’s going to get the young people started on that then lord knows where it’s going to end up. I could never favor legalizing marijuana. If a law is passed that legalizes marijuana for medical purposes, for health issues –we’ll enforce the law as it’s written.”
Dewitt faces Brian Adams in the race for sheriff. Voters will head to the polls on June 10th.
The Bryan Crabtree Show airs from 8-10 a.m. on WQSC 1340 and 950 AM. You can visit the show’s website by clicking here. You can also catch Rocky D on the same airwaves from 3-6 p.m.
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