Interim Florence Co. Sheriff speaks in Effingham, says he’ll ask SLED to audit department

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EFFINGHAM, SC (WBTW) – The interim Florence County Sheriff addressed the media in Effingham today, saying, in part, that he has ordered a full audit of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office by SLED. 

W.C. “Billy” Barnes spoke at the Florence County Law Enforcement Center in Effingham around 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

Barnes was appointed the interim Florence County Sheriff by Gov. Henry McMaster following Kenney Boone’s indictment on charges of embezzlement and misconduct and suspension from the office of Florence Co. Sheriff.

Barnes announced that he will order an audit of the department by SLED.

“I can tell you though that one of my first acts as sheriff is to ask SLED to conduct an audit of this office to be sure that everything else is in order.”

“I’m shocked and I’m extremely disappointed by what’s happened today. We’re all shocked. I’ve known Kenney Boone since he was a young deputy. I gave him his first job in law enforcement,” Barnes said during the press conference. “I’ve always considered him my friend and an outstanding law enforcement officer. I don’t know what happened with Kenney to bring us to this point, but I’ve always firmly believed that nobody is above the law. When people break the law, regardless of who they are, they need to be held accountable.”

“I also believe that any wrongdoing is limited to the allegations in the indictment, and that the other members of the department are upright and honorable law enforcement officers,” Barnes also said. “I commend Chief Deputy Glenn Kirby for having the courage to do what was right, even at the risk of jeopardizing his own career. Whenever he learned of discrepancies that were occurring in our narcotics account, he did what he had to do and he called SLED to investigate.”

“This office has suffered a black eye today. We’re going to do everything possible to correct that, and I would ask that the citizens of Florence County not rush to judge this department,” Barnes said. “Kenney Boone was the only person indicted and charged with a crime. Our sheriff’s office is made up of dedicated, professional law enforcement officers. None of us condone what’s happened. We’re embarrassed, but as I said, nobody is above the law.”

Barnes added that he can’t comment on SLED’s investigation, but said it’s been ongoing for months and will continue. 

Barnes previously served as Florence County Sheriff from 1974 to 1993, according to a press release from the governor’s office. He most recently served polygraph examiner for the department. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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