RICHLAND COUNTY, SC The Richland County Sheriff’s Department moved into Eastover’s police department Friday morning.
The small town of 831 in Lower Richland has struggled over the years to maintain its police force. So Mayor Geraldene Robinson called Sheriff Leon Lott and asked for help.
“My answer was simple,” Lott said. “Give us a building, and I’ll put them down here.”
The sheriff’s department will not charge the town for its services. Four deputies will work out of the Eastover substation, but other officers will use it for office space when they are on that end of the county, Lott said.
Robinson said the town appreciated Lott’s willingness to help and his fairness and integrity were well respected.
The town has been without a police officer since September. Over the years, the Eastover Police Department has struggled as police chiefs have battled with town council members and the town has found it hard to pay for the officers and equipment.
The sheriff’s department has a substation behind Lower Richland High School on U.S. 378, but that is still about 12 miles from Eastover. The new substation will allow his deputies to respond more quickly to calls on the far end of the county, Lott said.
The partnership was celebrated with a ceremony and reception at the new sheriff’s substation.
Ann Pringle Washington, an Eastover business owner, said she was pleased to see the sheriff’s department increase its presence.
“We’re all taxpayers, and we are making use of some resources we had forgotten about,” she said.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.