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Brown retires from Detention Center Print E-mail

Last weekend Gary Brown took his first vacation trip to the City of Charleston S.C. The three-day trip to the port city gave Brown, a native of New York City, who has announced that he will retire effective September 1, as director of the Bamberg County Detention Center a taste of what retirement life could be.

“It (Charleston) has all the trappings of a resort, the next time I go if I want to stay five days, I could stay five days,” Brown said alluding to his impending retirement.

Brown, in announcing his retirement after a law enforcement career that included; 2 years as a detention officer, 2 years with the Denmark Police Department, 2 years with the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Department (Class 1 Certified Officer) and the last eight years as director of the Bamberg County Detention Center followed and improbable career path to where he is today.

After receiving his B.S. Degree from Farmingdale City College in New York and attending Farmingdale University, Brown worked 20- years as a construction engineer before retiring and following his mother and father back to South Carolina with his wife (Sylvettiis) and their four children in 1996.

Working 20-years as a construction engineer, where he was required to work with many different people on a daily basis, made the transition from engineer to detention center director an even transition for Brown. He said he realize that his heart was always in working with people: “My calling was dealing with people, you just have to care about people,” Brown said. “Adding, I knew I had to get back into something dealing with people, this is a people business also.”

Being a people person, Brown said that his biggest challenge as detention center director is getting some of the 100’s of people that come to the jail to realize that their life is not behind bars, but in the real world. “This (jail) is a very small world and out there is the larger world they should be in,” is the point Brown said he tries to get over to inmates.

Asked what he will miss most about his old job, Brown said that he won’t miss much because of the many relationships he has formed over the years with the many families he has met. He noted that if there was any intrinsic reward from this job it is the people he meets each day on the street he has known.

“Hey Brown,” is how he said many of the former inmates address him when they see him on the street. “In my mind I can say we did something right there. We don’t win them all, but you win (99.9 %) a lot more than you lose. It’s just people helping people is all that I’ve done,” Brown said.

Gary Brown and his wife Sylvettiis are the proud parents of four children. Son Garo, is a Deputy with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department; daughter Sylvette an accountant with the Orangeburg Family Health Center; Tonia, is a homemaker in Columbia and Shikara, who lives at home and recently completed her master’s degree from Claflin University.

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