Tyndall ready to run for sheriff if West Columbia leaders agree

West Columbia Police Chief Dennis Tyndall plans to run for Lexington County sheriff if city leaders sign off on the idea Tuesday.

Tyndall revealed his interest in becoming the county’s top lawman in asking permission to campaign for the post while remaining the leader of the city 52-member police force.

“The political climate is right,” he said Monday. “It’s now or never.”

If he gets the go-ahead, Tyndall plans to run regardless of what happens to longtime incumbent James Metts, who has been suspended while fighting federal charges of accepting bribes and misconduct in office.

“I’ve done a lot of good here and would like to share it,” said the 54-year-old Tyndall, who has been police chief in the city of 15,000 residents for 17 years and in law enforcement for 33 years.

The 500-member Sheriff’s Department is well-run but can always benefit from improvements that enhance “professionalism,” Tyndall said.

Tyndall said he will run as a Republican in 2016 if Metts is found innocent of the 10-county indictment and returns to the job, or sooner if removed by conviction.

He is the third candidate announcing for the post after Columbia police officer Jim Crawford and Richland County Deputy Kerry Johnson.

City Councilman Tem Miles predicted Tyndall will get the OK to run with the understanding that campaigning not interfere with his job.