Camden (Special) — Complete power of law enforcement in Kershaw County was returned to the sheriff’s office at midnight Saturday and the Kershaw County Rural Police Department, founded in 1951, was abolished.
Kershaw County citizens voted overwhelmingly in last June’s special referendum to return the county’s law enforcement powers to the sheriff. The issue of how the county’s law enforcement should be run had been a cone of contention every election since the Rural Police Department was established a few months after Sheriff Gib DeBruhl’s death in 1950.
Sheriff D. E. Hilton, now a patient at the Kershaw County Memorial Hospital with a throat infection, said his department will operate with nine deputies.
Olin Watkins will serve as chief deputy. Other deputies are Hector DeBruhl, Ernest West, Leslie Moak, Harvey Horton, all former member of the Rural Police Department, and L. E. Smith, Clyde Peake, Oscar Edwards Coates and Pat Orr.
Deputy Smith, before joining the sheriff’s department, was Kershaw County forest ranger. Peake was formerly employed at the DuPont May plant and is a farmer. Orr is in the moving and grocery business in Camden. Orr will be the department’s radio dispatcher and will operate the newly-installed teletype machine.
Until additional space is acquired, the sheriff’s department will use the office space formerly occupied by the rural police, Sheriff Hilton said.
A total of eight squad cars, including the sheriff’s, will be in use by the department.