CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council voted Monday to temporarily suspend the certification for two law enforcement officers who are currently facing criminal charges.
The council suspended the law enforcement certifications for Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland and Charleston Police officer Kevin Schlieben until their cases are tried, according to South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Maj. Florence McCants.
Strickland faces a charge of second-degree domestic violence. Agents with the State Law Enforcement Division arrested him on Nov. 9 after they say he punched a woman in the face and took away her cell phone. Strickland placed himself on leave following the arrest.
Schlieben was also placed on leave and arrested after bodycam video shows he hit a handcuffed suspect. Schlieben is charged with of third-degree assault and battery.
McCants said Strickland could still choose to return to duty before he is tried because as an elected official, he would not need an active certification to complete his term of office. If he were to be indicted on the charge, Gov. Henry McMaster could remove him from office.
The council also voted to permanently deny a South Carolina certification of a former Goose Creek officer who documents allege “willfully made false, misleading, incomplete, deceitful or incorrect statements to any court of competent jurisdiction, or their staff members, whether under oath or not.”
Chantelle Simmons, who is no longer with the Goose Creek Police Department, did not face criminal charges.
She released a statement Monday night on the council’s decision:
I find it absurd how you can commit domestic violence and other violent acts as an officer and only receive temporary suspension of your law enforcement certification, but making an incorrect statement under oath they revoke your certification. Lying implies malicious intent in some form, especially in the realm of law enforcement. I made an incorrect statement and had no malicious intent whatsoever. I was halfway through my second year in law enforcement yet being treated as though I were a seasoned veteran with four years or more under my belt. The message I received from today’s ruling on my certification is basically you can commit violent acts as an officer and receive a second chance but everything else is a no go. Furthermore, I had no criminal charges pending. What kind of message does that send to law enforcement officers in regards to what they can essentially get away with and still obtain certification. And also what message does that send to the public?
A law enforcement certification is similar to a teacher certification. Law enforcement officers must have an active certification to work in the state.