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Strickland certificate suspended, SLED investigation still underway

A state committee has temporarily suspended the law enforcement certification for Colleton County Sheriff R. Andy Strickland.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council met on Monday and voted to suspend the certifications of two officers in the Lowcountry: Strickland is one of those two. The other is Charleston Police Department Officer Kevin Schlieben. Schlieben’s body camera showed him punching a suspect who was handcuffed. He is charged with third-degree assault for that incident.
Both men are currently facing criminal charges from recent incidents.
Strickland is charged with second-degree Criminal Domestic Violence for allegedly repeatedly punching a woman in the face. That incident occurred at a Colleton County residence on Nov. 7. Strickland is also accused of taking the woman’s phone and damaging her car in efforts to prevent her from calling for help.
He was arrested on the 9th by officers with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and was released on Saturday from the Colleton County Detention Center on a PR Bond.
Strickland then took a self-imposed leave of absence from the Sheriff’s Office and has since appointed his Chief Deputy, Buddy Hill, in command.
In a public statement released by the State Law Enforcement Training Committee, Strickland can “choose to return to duty” if he wants to because he is an elected official. However, he does have to have an active law enforcement certificate to “complete his term of office.”
Colleton County leaders have said there is no county statute to address this issue, as all issues pertaining to Strickland must be addressed by state leaders. This is because he is an elected law enforcement leader.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has made a public statement regarding Strickland’s criminal charges. In that statement, McMaster said he can only remove Strickland from office if he is indicted for those criminal charges pending against him.
The criminal case is still under investigation by SLED, meaning no other details are available at this time. Strickland will be prosecuted by the SC Attorney General’s Office.
The training committee that suspended Strickland’s certificate on Monday is a group of law enforcement leaders under the SLED umbrella that give recommendations.

Heather Walters (1670 Posts)