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Sheriff Leon Lott gets a new title

Leon Lott’s photo from the South Carolina State Guard website.
Leon Lott’s photo from the South Carolina State Guard website. Courtesy SCSG

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is now the head of another organization.

In a Change of Command ceremony on Saturday in the State House Senate chambers, Lott was made Commander of the South Carolina State Guard, making him the head of the force.

He holds the rank of Brigadier General.

“It’s alway amazing to me that it seems we get the right guy at the right time,” said Adjutant General of South Carolina, Robert Livingston. “You’re the right person.”

“Lots of times they say you got big shoes to fill. You got your own shoes,” Livingston said about Lott.

One of the primary duties of the South Carolina State Guard, a military organization not to be confused with The National Guard, is disaster response.

Lott inherited command from Major General Tom Mullikin, a Camden attorney who previously ran for South Carolina’s 5th district Congressional seat.

“Leon Lott’s been my hero since my time in college,” Mullikin said in a speech. “Some people had Miami Vice. I had Leon Lott. ... He’s going to run a tight ship. I can’t wait to see it.”

After a changing of the color ceremony, Lott spoke to the crowd, which included Governor Henry McMaster and SC Rep. Joe Wilson.

Lott referenced the SC State Guard’s motto, “Trained and ready.”

“We will continue to be trained and we will be continue to be ready,” Lott said. “I am trained and I am ready.”

Why he serves and why anyone serves in the SC State Guard, Lott said, “It’s for love. Love for state and love for country and for it’s people.”

The South Carolina State Guard is a military force under the command of the Military Department of South Carolina. The SCSG traces it lineage back to 1670 and the South Carolina militias during the Revolutionary War under the command of Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter and Andrew Pickens.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.


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