Interim Marlboro County sheriff vows to work hard to help officers, reshape department’s image

Pee Dee

MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — It was a busy first day on the job for Marlboro’s County’s new interim sheriff, who was handed the job after Tuesday’s suspension of Sheriff Charles Lemon

Larry McNeil immediately began putting his stamp on the office a day after he was appointed by Gov. Henry McMaster to take over for Lemon, who is facing faces charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and misconduct in office for his alleged involvement in the unlawful Tasing of a person at the county’s detention center. Former Deputy David Andrew Cook is facing identical charges.

McNeil, the former Bennettsville police chief, told News13 Wednesday that his first hours on the job included meeting with staff members, looking at training that might be needed in the department, going over his budget and making sure the needs of officers are being met.

McNeil also took part in a swearing-in ceremony for new officers that was held at the detention center. He also said he plans to focus on training and making sure that employees are properly certified.

There’s also the task of rebuilding the department’s image with residents. Part of that could include working on some new ways of community-type policing, he said. Employees seem to be taking the leadership change in stride, he said.

“They seem to be in good spirit, all willing to work and get back to the business of doing what they need to do, and that’s taking care of the citizens of Marlboro,” he said.

McNeil said when McMaster called to offer him the position, it was an honor.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” he said. “You have to sit down when you get a phone call. It was a first. … “To hear his voice, to hear him ask that question, to have that much confidence in me based on the conversation obviously he had with people that knew me, and my work ethic, and my past work history, made me feel real good. We don’t always get those kinds of calls.”

McNeil said he will do his best to uphold the values of the office.

“I will do all I possibly can along with this department to make sure that we provide the best services we can.

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