GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis is making good on a campaign promise.
The Office of the Sheriff is creating a Citizens Advisory Board to open and sustain communication across the community.
There are a few stipulations, but if people live and vote in Greenville County, they can apply to be on the board.
“Relay the information the concerns, the issues on budget, staffing, crime prevention back to the sheriff, so he’s able to get a true grasp of what’s going on out there,” said Sgt. Ryan Flood of the Greenville Sheriff’s Office.
The board will be made up of 24 people, two people from each of the 12 districts in the county. Deputies want the representative to be someone the community members trust and know.
“People who will be on this board will have an intimate understanding of their community, and I think they’re able to provide that voice to the sheriff,” Jalen Elrod, a community organizer, said.
Elrod says the board members will be able to tell the sheriff what’s effective and what’s not in their specific community.
“Effective policing is impossible without community engagement, and this program is a way the community can stay involved,” Flood said.
To be on the board, people need to fill out an application, they’ll be interviewed, undergo a background check, go before a panel, and then the sheriff will appoint the board member.
Community members say they appreciate the transparency.
“Any step, series of steps, that can be taken to rectify that mistrust, to create that reconciliation between the minority community, especially, and law enforcement is very helpful and will lead to more progress in our community,” Elrod said.
The board won’t have any disciplinary power. Elrod says that is something he hopes can be work towards in the future.
Deputies do hope the liaisons will make people more comfortable.
“We need to be able to get the information from the community to understand where these problem areas are,” Flood said.
The last day to apply is April 6th.
The sheriff will be holding a press conference with more details on the advisory board Friday at 1 P.M.
You can apply here. Or you can contact Lt. Darius Hall from the Office of the Sheriff at 864-444-1491.