With continued state budget cuts, the State Law Enforcement Division must get creative to overcome what has become the nation’s highest per capita rate of violent crime. SLED Director Reggie Lloyd says one of the things he does not want is to say all solutions are a money issue. “Some of these issues of cooperation and new approaches, we can do in the current system,” Lloyd says.
The SLED Director’s plan is to implement a more aggressive approach toward violent offenders in several areas including criminal domestic violence, child abuse, narcotics and gangs.
“We’re going to be joined at the hip with DEA and the FBI this year, we’re going to take what limited resources all of us have and target those groups that are most dangerous, ” he says. Lloyd emphasizes the protection of women, children and elderly from violent offenders will be a priority in this effort.
“We’ve got parents and grandparents trying to raise their kids in some areas that none of us would tolerate for our own kids, none of us would,” he says.
The SLED Director wants South Carolina to be ranked as one of the 10 safest places to live instead of being one of the most dangerous. He says he’s assigned agents to various areas to achieve these goals.
SLED and its local counterparts are fighting more than crime, they also face another round of budget cuts. The plan depends on the sharing of knowledge to be a powerful tool, however. More than 160 people connected with fighting violent crime in the state met for training in Columbia to start this initiative. Laura Hudson, the executive director of the S.C. Crime Victims’ Council helped set up Monday’s training. The all-day event focused on collecting and using DNA evidence, and about connecting with other law enforcement . Hudson says, “Things are going to get worse as the economy goes down, we know that from history that is what happens. So, we need to be better prepared and to more easily pick up that phone and call someone you know who can help you make a better case.”
Monday’s was the first in a series of training sessions for law enforcement across the state. Hudson says SLED is giving state and local agents information that they can use every day:
“We’ll be doing stalking and harassment, we’ll be doing children’s issues because children and women in this state are the most abused and the most secondary folk that we deal with and that’s one of the things we’ll be bringing to the forefront.”
Hudson and SLED plan to do these trainings quarterly.