Crime & Courts

Jail guard had a uniform, police lights on car and it landed him behind bars, SC cops say

Ken Charpia Duncan
Ken Charpia Duncan Al Cannon Detention Center

He had a uniform and police lights installed in his car. He just did not have the authority to use them.

But the man, who was a guard at a South Carolina jail, was spotted with blue and amber lights working as he drove on I-26 Thanksgiving Day, reported.

Following an investigation, Ken Charpia Duncan was arrested for pretending to be a law enforcement officer and wound up behind bars at the Al Cannon Detention Center, where he oversaw the inmates, according to WCSC.

Then he lost his job.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail, said the 26-year-old Duncan was fired Monday, per WCBD.

Duncan was wearing his detention center uniform on Nov. 22, when a witness driving behind him on I-26 said she saw the guard turn on lights in the back windshield of a silver Ford Fusion, WCSC reported.

Despite his position with the jail, Duncan is not a sworn law enforcement officer, and illegally posed as one, according to

It turns out the woman who saw Duncan using police lights on Thanksgiving remembered him from a previous incident, WCBD reported.

On Nov. 13, the woman called the Goose Creek Police Department to report that a man had followed her home, and recognized him and his car on Thanksgiving, per WCSC.

After making the second report, the vehicle was traced back to Duncan, who “admitted to having a light bar installed in his car ... (and being) in the same place at the same time the witness reported seeing him use the blue lights while driving,” according to an affidavit, WCSC reported.

The Goose Creek Police turned the investigation over to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, and Duncan was arrested Monday, per He was charged with “impersonating an officer and unlawful use of a blue light” and was released from the detention center after his bail was set at $10,000.

Excerpts from the Nov. 4 police interview with a former sheriff's deputy accused of impersonating an officer and pulling a gun on a Rock Hill woman and her son. The audio was played Thursday during Michael Caroselli's trial.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.