Legislators expected to request resignation of Dept. of Public Safety director

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – State lawmakers are expected to ask the director of South Carolina’s Department of Public Safety to step down.

Representative Eddie Tallon, R-Spartanburg, says legislators could ask DPS Director Leroy Smith to resign as early as Tuesday, Nov. 14.

“if it’s that much distrust and that high of a morale problem, then we’ve got the wrong leadership,” Tallon said.

Tallon was among the S.C. House members who heard testimony from Sgt. David Whatley on Monday.

The State reports Whatley was near tears when he handed Smith his letter of resignation following 29 years on the force.

Whatley testified the department’s internal investigations are unfair and that morale has dropped under Smith’s leadership.

“You can’t have the kind of leadership in a department like the Department of Public Safety that you have, and expect to retain people, expect people to be happy with their work, and expect the public of South Carolina to be safe,” said Tallon.

Smith has denied allegations.

Tallon said he receives daily calls from troopers upset with policies, and says most officers say morale is terrible.

Nothing happened after the Criminal Justice Subcommittee issued a report accusing Smith of mismanagement, Tallon said.

Lawmakers, he said, now plan to submit a letter of no confidence to Gov. Henry McMaster.

The S.C. Department of Public Safety released the following statement regarding Sgt. Whatley’s resignation:

Sgt. D.E. Whatley, Troop 5, Post  B, submitted a letter to Director Leroy Smith during the House Legislative Oversight Meeting on November 13 citing his intent to retire in February 2018. An employee’s decision to retire is a personal one; however, the department appreciates Sgt. Whatley’s dedicated service and commitment to making our state safer throughout his time in service.