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A Day in the Life of a Colleton County Sheriff’s Deputy

By Lauren Mckinnon

Sheriff’s Deputy George Rioux is poised and ready to hit the streets of Colleton County once again after a foot pursuit earlier in the morning. Photo by Lauren Mckinnon

Sheriff’s Deputy George Rioux is poised and ready to hit the streets of Colleton County once again after a foot pursuit earlier in the morning. Photo by Lauren Mckinnon

The clock reads 10:37 a.m. and the rural roads of Cottageville have been quiet for what seems like an eternity. Deputy George Rioux, 28, patrols Augusta Hwy (SC-61) just past Sidney’s Crossroads. As traffic passes in the opposite direction, he clocks their speed with radar.

Something doesn’t feel right about the silver car traveling toward him, even though their speed isn’t significantly over the limit. One glance at the driver and Rioux’s instincts kick in. Something is not right. In one fluid motion, he flicks on his lights and sirens and whips the car around to pursue the subject.

Dust is flying and tires are squealing. The subject’s car tears off around a corner, but Rioux is hot on their trail. Cutting through a parking lot, around another sharp corner and into a driveway, the subject bails. The chase continues on foot through a field and back towards Augusta Hwy. but his desire to get away is no match for Rioux’s training and nearly eight years of experience.

Rioux tackles and subdues the subject while employing defensive tactic maneuvers, ensuring both the subject and himself are unharmed. Cuffed, the subject is escorted back to the patrol car to be transported to the jail. The clock reads 10:44 a.m..

It can all happen just that fast.

Deputy Rioux isn’t just tough, he is also compassionate. Even though the subject he is transporting to jail may have broken the law, Rioux doesn’t treat him like a criminal. On the way to town, Rioux talks to him about ways to find financial support and emotional support, as well as ways to turn his life around for the sake of his family, be it through faith, family support, or finding a good job.

 “I care for my fellow mankind, and even when people make mistakes, I believe there is hope,” said Rioux.

 Once at the jails the subject that once fled to avoid arrest is now calm and even thankful and apologetic to the deputy who arrested him. Rioux leaves the subject to be fingerprinted and booked with a handshake and a smile, while the subject promises to do better in the future. Whether or not he does, Rioux may never know, but Rioux has a clean conscience and a well-deserved feeling of accomplishment.

Now comes the less glamorous part of the job, the part most people never see. Rioux makes his way back to headquarters to fill out a report of the incident and grab a quick bite to eat before heading back out on the road to once again protect and serve the citizens of Colleton County.

Deputy Rioux started as an Explorer with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office when only 15 years old. By 21 he was hired to be a Deputy. Rioux spent nearly seven years in Beaufort County before moving to Colleton County to work under Sheriff Andy Strickland.

“It was a good move for me. Sheriff Strickland is a very proactive sheriff,” said Rioux.

“He has put more deputies on the roads, patrolling and making our presence known. For instance, what he has done with the Drug Task Force, keeping the pressure up, making life difficult for the people in that world. The goal is that it will encourage them to choose a better path in life once they realize that we will make it harder for them to keep living that way.”

Deputy Rioux explains that he also enjoys being able to be a positive role model for the children he sees every day as he helps keep the crosswalks safe for them on their morning walk to school.

The deputies of Colleton County are trained in many areas of law enforcement including radio communication, pursuit driving, firearm safety and marksmanship, investigation, tactical/defensive maneuvers for hand-to-hand combat, apprehending and subduing suspects, conducting searches and seizures, evidence processing, conducting surveillance, protecting crime scenes, conducting witness and victim interviews, and writing and preparing accurate reports.

Not only are the deputies expected to be in top physical condition, but also in mental and emotional health. They must have the ability to chase and subdue suspects bigger than them, have the intellectual ability to conduct investigations and write detailed and accurate reports, and have the emotional stability to handle seeing victims of crimes in their most desperate times.

Like any career in public service, this is one that requires a passion for the job and compassion for the people. Being an officer of the law is a calling. The men and women of Colleton County Sheriff’s Office risk their lives everyday to keep the community safe.

 Editor’s Note:

“A day in the life,” is an ongoing series that we will have this year focusing on individual positions within our City and County government, giving you a more in-depth look into various jobs in our community.

Special to The Colletonian (3424 Posts)