In South Carolina law enforcement officers hold a law enforcement certification and a commission. The commission, typically issued by the officer’s Sheriff or Chief, grants the law enforcement officer the authority to perform arrests and enforce the laws of the State of South Carolina within a certain jurisdiction. The law enforcement certification, issued by the Law Enforcement Training Council through the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, grants the law enforcement officer authority to enforce the laws and ordinances of this State or any political subdivisions once the officer is deemed qualified by the Law Enforcement Training Council.
The Training Act and corresponding regulations allow the Law Enforcement Training Council to withdraw and/or deny certification to an officer if the officer has committed misconduct as defined in S.C. Reg. 37-025 and/or 37-026. In the law enforcement community these are commonly known as the 7 Deadly Sins. They are:
1.Conviction, plea of guilt, plea of no contest or admission of guilt (regardless of adjudication) to a felony, a crime punishable by a sentence of one year or more (regardless of the sentence actually imposed, if any), or a crime of moral turpitude in this or any other jurisdiction.
2. Unlawful use of controlled substance
3. Repeated use of excessive force in dealing with the public and/or prisoners.
4. Dangerous and/or unsafe practices involving firearms, weapons, and/or vehicles which indicate a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
5. Physical or psychological abuses of members of the public and/or prisoners.
6. Misrepresentation of employment-related information.
7. Dishonesty with respect to his/her employer, untruthfulness with respect to his/her employer.
Many officers believe that if they resign, then an allegation of misconduct cannot be made against them. This is incorrect. Most agencies will finish an internal affairs investigation, even if the officer being investigated resigns before the investigation is complete, and, if misconduct has occurred, will report it to the Academy. So, resigning DOES NOT protect you from an allegation of misconduct.
Many officers also believe that as soon as an allegation of misconduct is made, they are entitled to a hearing to challenge the allegation. This is not true. The Law Enforcement Training Council does not have jurisdiction to determine if someone can be certified and/or recertified unless they have a law enforcement employer sponsoring their certification. So, if an allegation of misconduct has been made against you and you want to return to law enforcement, the first step you must take is obtaining a law enforcement employer to sponsor your certification.
Individuals with questions or concerns about an allegation of misconduct can reach the misconduct unit staff by calling Chief General Counsel at 803-896-7722 .