BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley Co. Sheriff's Office is planning to open several sheriff substations to better serve locals and improve access to law enforcement.
For residents of Cross, SC, the outposts are a long time coming.
"It gives us an opportunity to help the sheriff help us," Caldwell Pinckney, Jr., longtime resident and councilman, said. "Out of sight out of mind, but with this station here I think it's going to make the criminal element think twice about their actions."
Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said curbing crime is one goal but the substations are ultimately about improving locals' access to deputies and sheriff office services.
"[Berkeley County] is the largest county in the state, land-mass wise," Lewis said. "When things are spread out a lot of things are centralized in Moncks Corner...the courts, the jail, the sheriff's office."
The substations will offer an alternate way to do business with the sheriff's office without traveling to Moncks Corner. While Cross will have the first substation to open later this spring, other outposts are being planned in Goose Creek, Sangaree as well as the Huger/Clements Ferry/Cainhoy area.
"I think it's a great asset to the county, to the cities, the areas for people to have a little quicker response." Cindy Long, Goose Creek resident and member of the Sheriff's Citizens Advisory Board said. "To get to paperwork, computers, criminals and activities that are happening. They can get a little extra help faster."
Local volunteers will even man the station, as deputies maintain coverage of the area.
"It gives our citizens, not only Cross but rural Berkeley Co., a sense of ownership because we have a physical station here," Pinkney said.
Lewis said the outposts are an extension of the office's current community policing programs, offering deputies an additional chance to foster relationships with the surrounding community.
"It'll add to what we're trying to do which is get back into the community and be there for them, which is to build trust and relationships and that's how we solve problems," Lewis said.
Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.