Darnell named Sheriff of the year

Over his 30 years as Sheriff of Bamberg County, Sheriff J. Edward Darnell has received numerous honors and awards including being named the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association Sheriff of the Year in 2001.

To his impressive list of accomplishments Darnell can add another equally outstanding honor.

Sheriff Darnell was recently named the first recipient of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Victims Advocate Association (LEVA) Sheriff of the Year Award for 2008.

“We could think of no better person to nominate than Sheriff Ed. Darnell,” Bamberg County Victim Service Coordinator Pat Williams said.

“He is the only Sheriff that comes to our conferences year in and year out, he comes to see what we are doing to better improve our victims service department, and better network with other victim advocates throughout the state, we are a professional organization,” said Williams who has been the Bamberg County Victims Advocate for six years, and is the state treasurer of the organization.

Sheriff Darnell was chosen for the prestigious award from nominations from across the state by a committee who made the final determination of who the first recipient of the award would be.

Sheriff Darnell, who has seen the victim’s advocacy program come a long way in his 30 years of law enforcement, stated that it was an honor to receive the award from (LEVA).

“It was a great honor for me to receive this from (LEVA), when Pat (Williams) first told me about it, I said that’s fantastic,” Darnell said.

“When I first started in law enforcement victims weren’t notified when their case came in court, sometimes they were treated almost worse than the criminal themselves, but that has changed now since we have victims advocacy programs throughout the state and nation, and that’s good, we’ve got to take care of our people,” Darnell stated.

In making Sheriff Darnell her nominee for the award, Williams stated that there were many qualities that stood out about the sheriff that she has worked with for the last six years, but one quality impressed her the most.

“What impresses me the most about Sheriff Darnell is his ability to communicate, of all the things he taught me, the thing I seek to emulate most is his great ability to communicate and his great ability to talk to people,” Williams said.

“I don’t care how angry one of my victims becomes, he has this uncanny ability to calm a situation down and get the situation under control, he’s a great communicator, I think that is one of the things I admire most about him.

That’s the thing that struck me first, when I came here, was his open door policy, and readiness to assist whenever he can, he is one of the most accessible sheriff’s in the state, he stands up for the rights of victims, he treats everybody the same, he has a pulse on the community that’s unreal,” Williams said.

“We’re doing a lot better job today of taking care of our victims of crime,” Sheriff Darnell said.

“We all do everything we can to solve our problems, we try to get as many cases solved as we can regardless of the size of the case, whether it’s a petty larceny, grand larceny, burglary, or homicide case, there’s a victim.

We do our best to work closely with these victims because when a home has been broken into, people have been violated, we work very closely with these victims and with other departments in the county as well,” Darnell said.

“We take pride in doing that, and I’ve always done that, no one has to have an appointment to come see any of us, after 30 years of law enforcement, we will continue to do what’s best for the people of this county,” Sheriff Darnell said.