Sheriff Lewis running out of time to easily become certified officer

Greenville Co. Sheriff Will Lewis
Greenville Co. Sheriff Will Lewis

While Sheriff Will Lewis is the top cop in Greenville County, he couldn’t work as an officer, without first being re-certified.

A training history report for Lewis shows that he started his law enforcement career in 1998, becoming a class 1 officer after being hired by the Greenwood Police Department.

Lewis kept that certification during his law enforcement career, until he left the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office in 2011. Lewis’ Class 1 officer certification expired in 2013 and he still has not renewed it.

Once being elected Sheriff, he has a year to apply with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy to take a test to waive going through entire re-certification process. Records show he has not been recertified to this point.

The Criminal Justice Policy states that to continue to be certified, you must not have a break in service for more than three years. If you let your certification become inactive, to become re-certified, the candidate must attend and complete the first 6 weeks of the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program at the academy.

If Lewis was hired as a deputy or officer at any agency, he would have to go through this 6 week program, before he could actively work again. Being elected Sheriff is the only reason he has arresting powers.

The Sheriff’s Association says that is not rare for new sheriffs not to be a certified law enforcement officer, but that most become re-certified within a year.

All newly elected Sheriff’s are required to go through a 45 hour course with the Sheriff’s Association, which Lewis completed.

Being a current certified officer, isn’t a requirement to be Sheriff. According to the law, you have to have the following:

  1. A high school diploma and 5 years of experience as a certified law enforcement officer
  2. A 2 year Associate Degree and 3 years of experience as a certified law enforcement officer
  3. A 4 year Baccalaureate Degree and 1 year of experience as a certified law enforcement officer
  4. Serve as a Summary Court Judge for at least 10 years