KERSHAW COUNTY, SC — Kershaw County traffic deputy Brad Lawson who his boss says has a sixth sense for crooks has received a top national award from a 10,000-member law enforcement officers group for his numerous arrests.
He often uses a traffic stop as the beginning of an investigation, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said. He kind of has that sixth sense your average traffic officer doesnt.
Lawson, 36, received the award from the National Criminal Enforcement Association for numerous criminal arrests, drug and money seizures, and stolen property recoveries he made in 2012.
These included recovering three stolen cars, two stolen motorcycles, three stolen U-Haul trailers. He also made 94 drug cases, 100 alcohol cases and 12 DUI arrests. During his traffic stops, he discovered more than 100 pounds of marijuana, $64,000 in cash from drug proceeds and hundreds of illegal pills.
Lawson doesnt question everyone he stops at length just suspicious folks, Matthews said. He is definitely not one of these hot dog overzealous guys.
Lawson has had a lot of interdiction training, meaning hes been taught to check for behavioral traits someone concealing a criminal act might exhibit, Matthews said.
One of the things he looks for is the neck pulse, Matthews said. Suspicious people get that neck pulse going real fast. Hell ask himself, Why is this guy so nervous? and go from there.
Matthews hired Lawson in 2011 as one of the first officers in a new anti-DUI traffic unit after the county experienced a record number of traffic deaths. Since the unit was formed, traffic deaths have declined markedly.
Traffic stops which Lawson likes to do can turn dangerous quickly.
Just last month, Lawson made a routine traffic stop after which the driver fled, reaching speeds up to 125 mph before ramming two police cars. The driver was arrested on numerous drug charges.
Theres no such thing as a routine stop, says Lawson, who like other traffic unit deputies, works with a backup who he can call for quick help if need be.