WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - The man who worked his way through the ranks under seven Colleton County sheriffs to claim victory says his election win was humbling.
But Buddy Hill says his agency has a lot of trust to rebuild following guilty pleas last month from former Sheriff Andy Strickland on charges of misconduct in office, third-degree assault and battery and breach of trust with fraudulent intent.
“We have a lot of trust to rebuild and that falls on me, and I and I plan on working hard to rebuild that trust in the community because without the community is going to be difficult to succeed,” Hill said. “We have to have their cooperation and their trust. And that’s going to be one of our priorities.”
He said under Interim Sheriff Charles Ghent, whom Gov. Henry McMaster appointed to serve when McMaster suspended Strickland from office, the agency revamped policies, procedures and has an internal investigations division and a narcotics division.
“We’re moving forward and have been moving forward for the last year he came in and started that and I plan to continue on that trend and move forward,” Hill said.
He said what the agency has is a “very dedicated bunch of men and women.”
“And they have served well they served that through some very difficult times as you can imagine, and I don’t plan on making any drastic changes as it stands right now,” he said. “Of course we’re going to evolve and things may change in the future but as of right now, you know, everything is working well.”
Hill, who joined the sheriff’s office in 1986, defeated Alyssa Bodison, who would have been the state’s first African American female sheriff if she had been elected.
With 100% of precincts reporting, Hill led Bodison with 55% of the vote.
Hill said he and Bodison have worked together for many years.
“I have the utmost respect for her,” Hill said. “She’s a top-notch person and we’ve been friends for a lot of years, and I have every intention to continue that friendship.”
This year marked Hill’s third run for sheriff of Colleton County. He previously ran in 2008 and in 2012.
“So it’s been a long road, but it’s been one that I wouldn’t change,” he said.