Billy Barnes discusses his role as Interim Sheriff

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FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Interim Sheriff Billy Barnes has been in his current role for nearly four months.

Governor Henry McMaster assigned Barnes to the role after Kenney Boone was suspended. Interim Sheriff Barnes knows the role as he was the sheriff for 19 years.

“It’s pretty much like riding a bicycle. You don’t forget, you just jump right back in. It’s all routine but a lot of differences though, when I retired we probably had close to 100 employees,” said Barnes.

Interim Sheriff Barnes took over officer after Attorney General Alan Wilson announced indictments against Boone. The indictments allege Boone used both county and federal funds allocated to the FCSO for personal use.

“Working for Kenney, I can tell you I was very disappointed in what happened because he was like one of my kids. I hired him when he was 21,” said Barnes.

While the federal account is frozen due to Boone’s actions, Barnes tells News 13 they still have one thing. “We still have state account, confiscated money that we’re able to utilize and operate helicopters so we don’t have problems with that we’re still able to do it.”

Sheriff Barnes is working to rebuild the trust not only within the community, but also the sheriff’s office.

“Don’t be concern about the department, there was nothing wrong with the department it was just the leadership at the time and it was a very unfortunate situation but they have direction again now.”

It’s unknown how long Interim Sheriff Barnes will remain in office, however the next election for Florence County Sheriff will happen November 2020.

News 13 contacted the state attorney general’s office on Thursday, concerning the Boone case and a spokesperson said the date for Boone’s next court appearance is not yet set and there’s no new information on the case.

Count on News 13 as we continue to follow this story.

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