Crime & Courts

Gay Latta police chief who made national news plans to run for sheriff

Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore announced Wednesday morning that she will petition to become a candidate in the race for Dillon County sheriff in the general election in November.

Moore said the petition requires 980 signatures and must be submitted by July 15. Moore said that starting Wednesday, she had plans to go door-to-door every afternoon across Dillon County to collect the signatures needed.

“I’m excited,” Moore said. “It’s just time for a change.”

If Moore obtains enough signatures and the paperwork is certified, she will be listed as a candidate for sheriff on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Major Hulon holds the position as Dillon County sheriff and is serving his sixth term. Hulon barely edged challenger Douglas Purnell with 51 percent of the vote during the Democratic Party primary election on June 14. Hulon does not face a Republican Party candidate in November.

Moore made the national news spotlight when she was fired by Latta Mayor Earl Bullard in 2014. Shortly after the openly gay police chief was fired, a recorded phone conversation was released in which Bullard said Moore’s lifestyle was “questionable.”

The 1,300-resident town quickly rallied behind Moore. Within days of her termination, the city council voted to change its form of government to reduce the mayor’s power, then rehired Moore as police chief. She was reinstated as chief less than three months after she was fired. Following an investigation, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce found Moore was terminated without cause.