Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Man on Incident Exposure Charges

David Michael Watkins

David Michael Watkins

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster man on charges of indecent exposure.

23 year old David Michael Watkins of Sigmon Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 7:22am yesterday by a deputy from the Warrants Division.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to an address on Sigmon Drive mid-afternoon Sunday due to reports of a male outside of his residence nude on two separate occasions. As the investigation continued, the deputy as well as an investigator from the Criminal Investigations Division spoke to Watkins and statements were gathered from all parties.

In a warrant obtained by the Sheriff’s Office, Watkins is accused of exposing himself to two females, one adult and one juvenile.

Watkins was released from the Oconee County Detention Center yesterday. His bond was a $5,000 surety bond.

11th Annual S.C. Apple Festival Car Show Set for September 12th, 2015

Car Show Flyer - 2015_Page_1

Sheriff's Badge

Crimestoppers Logo

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc. and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office are proud to announce that the 11th Annual S.C. Apple Festival Car Show, to benefit Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc., will be held on Saturday, September 12th.

The Car Show will be located on East Main Street in Westminster besides Hardee’s, with registration from 9am until Noon. Judging will be held starting at Noon and prizes will be awarded starting at 1pm. Door prizes will also be available as well.

The registration fee is $15, with vendor spaces also available at $15 as well.

The Car Show will include motorcycles and 4 x 4 Wheel Drive vehicles.

For more information, contact Larry Dellinger at 864-647-5487.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Collects Over 30 Pounds of Prescription Medication During Recent Pill Take Back Day

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–During last Friday’s United Way of Oconee County’s annual Day of Caring event at Norton-Thompson Park in downtown Seneca, Agents from the Narcotics Division of the Sheriff’s Office collected over 32 pounds of prescription medication as part of a “Pill Take Back Day.”
Agents collected almost 29 pounds of medication in pill form and almost 3.5 pounds of liquid medication. The collection prevented medication from possibly making its way into the sewer system which can lead into contamination of land or water resources, plus, it kept these products from not reaching the hands of children and young people as well, according to Lt. Jeremy Chapman of the Sheriff’s Office.
The items will be disposed of properly, according to Lt. Chapman.
Combined with around 93 pounds of pills and liquid medication the Sheriff’s Office collected during a Pill Take Back Day in April at the substation near Oconee Memorial Hospital, the Sheriff’s Office has collected around 125 pounds of pill and liquid medication so far this year.

United Way of Oconee County Announces Beat The Heat Fan Drive

fan drive 2015.pdf

(Walhalla, SC)———————————–The United Way of Oconee County has announced their “Beat The Heat Fan Drive” to help residents of Oconee County stay cool this summer.
You can donate a fan and drop off your donation at the United Way of Oconee County office at 409 East North 1st Street in Seneca from 9am until 4pm Monday thru Thursday.
For additional information, contact Kimberly Ellis at the United Way of Oconee County office at 864-882-9743, extension 101.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Two, Including Juvenile, in Seneca Area Assault and Battery

Mikol Andrew Engle

Mikol Andrew Engle

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man and a juvenile on charges yesterday after an assault and battery occurred near Seneca.

36 year old Mikol Andrew Engle of Ranger Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 2:57pm. The 16 year old juvenile was arrested, had a bond hearing and was transferred to a Department of Juvenile Justice facility.

Deputies were dispatched to an address on Ranger Drive, which is near the Tokeena Crossroads area, in response to reports of a disturbance. Deputies were then directed to an area behind a building on the property where the victim of the assault was on the ground, unconscious. The victim was later airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries.

As deputies were conducting their investigation, it was determined, according to Engle’s arrest warrant, that Engle and the juvenile had beaten the victim with a baseball bat and kicked the victim in the upper body.

Engle was charged in warrants with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature and is currently being held on a $150,000 surety bond.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.

Ranger One Assists in Search for Three Missing Males

Ranger One - Picture Two

Ranger One

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–Ranger One, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, assisted in the search this morning for three males who were reported missing.

Deputies were notified early Monday morning regarding the three males, two adults and one juvenile, who reportedly had gone rafting down the Chattooga River. The males reportedly put into the river around 7pm Sunday at the Low River access on Low Water Bridge Road in Mountain Rest and were scheduled to be picked up at Earls Ford park later on but had not arrived as of yet. Deputies responded to the scene in an attempt to locate the individuals and to meet with the person who made the original call.

The search was then turned over to Oconee County Emergency Services, along with Special Water Rescue and the Mountain Rest Rescue Squad.

Ranger One lifted off from the Clemson – Oconee County Airport around 6:39am and made its way to the river, where dispatch was advised that the subjects were discovered about 2 miles before Earls Ford. From the ground, the subjects were able to relay to the helicopter that they were not in distress. Ranger One was then able to direct rescue crews to their location, according to Oconee County Fire Chief Charlie King. All units then cleared from the scene.

“Ranger One is an important asset for the citizens of Oconee County,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “The Sheriff’s Office requested Dan Suddeth, who is our pilot, to help in an assessment two years ago to determine the continued viability of the Sheriff’s Office helicopter program. After that assessment, a decision was made to continue with the program. Since that time, Ranger One has assisted in criminal investigation operations as well as partnering with our friends with Oconee County Emergency Services in operations that they are involved in. I believe that the Sheriff’s Office helicopter program is a vital part of public safety operations for the citizens of Oconee County.”

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Continues to be Proactive in Offering Church Safety Meetings

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————-For well over a year now, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has offered to area places of worship church safety meetings to address ways that congregations can protect themselves and their property.

“The Sheriff’s Office continues to try to be proactive in addressing many of the issues affecting Oconee County and church safety is one of those issues at the very top,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “We issued a press release on March 26th of last year offering to our area churches to have Sergeant Mike McGowan come to their place of worship for a church safety assessment. While we are not trying to create a sense of panic, we wanted to issue another release today to make congregations aware that this service is available to them.”

Sergeant McGowan has conducted several church safety assessments in Oconee County and attended a church safety meeting workshop, along with Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt, in March of 2014 at Memorial United Methodist Church in Greer that was sponsored by Southern Mutual Church Insurance Company and South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.

During the safety meetings, Sergeant McGowan goes over several different issues that may arise for churches and places of worship, from active shooter situations to how to protect buildings and property from being damaged to how to prevent larcenies to questions regarding church members who are Concealed Weapons Permit holders and even how to handle disruptions during worship services.

Sgt. McGowan also recommends that churches consider forming church safety teams consisting of current and retired law enforcement, military and Concealed Weapons Permit holders.

If anyone church is interested in hosting a church safety meeting with Sgt. McGowan, please contact him at 864-638-2017.

Contract with Southern Health Partners for Inmate Health Care to Save Taxpayers Money, According to Sheriff Crenshaw

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The unanimous approval by Oconee County Council during their June meeting Tuesday night to award Southern Health Partners, with its corporate offices in Chattanooga, TN, with the contract to provide inmate health care at the Oconee County Detention Center will save taxpayers money, says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw.

“As we continue to move toward opening the new Detention Center in Oconee County, we have tried to explore every cost associated with operating a Detention Center in hopes of trying to save taxpayer money on items such as medical services,” according to Sheriff Crenshaw. “A couple of companies bid on medical services and the one company that was selected last night and approved at County Council was a contract with Southern Health Partners, which has a history of providing health care in correctional facilities.”

“We are pleased and I think this is a move in the right direction,” continues Sheriff Crenshaw. “The Sheriff’s Office is looking to try to save money in every aspect and this was a good cost saving measure for Oconee County.”

The amount of the contract approved for Southern Health Partners, according to Sheriff Crenshaw, was $254,820. When compared with the cost for inmate health care last year at the Detention Center, Sheriff Crenshaw projects that the savings will amount to around $112,000. In last year’s budget for the jail, the combined costs for all medical services, including employee pay, prescriptions, medical supplies, doctor and hospital visits totaled over $366,000.

“Historically, the county jail has provided medical services in house with registered nurses and a contract with a local medical doctor,” continues Sheriff Crenshaw. “The county also incurred the cost for prescription drugs, doctor’s appointments and hospital visits on sentenced inmates. If someone comes in presentenced, they are responsible for their own medical care.”

“Southern Health Providers will be providing their own staff as far as nursing staff and a contract doctor, as well as dental services,” says the Sheriff.

“The Sheriff’s Office is not unlike other organizations that have seen medical costs increase,” continues the Sheriff. “In prescription medication over the last four years, we have gone from $90,000 a year up to almost $139,000. The advantage to going to outsourcing is that Southern Health Partners is in numerous correctional facilities so that they can purchase medication at a much cheaper cost. It should also cut down on our transportation costs and they have their own portable x-ray machine that they bring into the facility. We should see some additional savings as we move forward.”

One other benefit besides taxpayer savings, according to Sheriff Crenshaw, is the fact that it increases our coverage in the new Detention Center. Where in the past coverage was provided by two staff nurses and a medical provider for eight hours a day, five days a week, Southern Health Partners will provide twelve hour a day coverage, seven days a week, which means, for example, that Detention Officers will no longer be in charge of dispensing medications.

Plus, another potential benefit for taxpayers will be a reduction in liability for Oconee County in that the medical provider will be responsible for medical care and any liability will be shared by the company and Oconee County, according to Sheriff Crenshaw. Finally, Southern Health Care Partners will be in a position to negotiate to get the lowest possible price from insurance providers and medical suppliers as well.

State law requires Oconee County to provide medical care for those who are incarcerated at the Detention Center.

Southern Health Partners will begin their services at the Detention Center on July 1st and then transition those services to the new Detention Center, which is scheduled to open later on this year.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Easley Teenager on Drug Charges After Early Morning Traffic Stop

Joshua William Wright

Joshua William Wright

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested an Easley teenager on two drug charges this morning as the result of a traffic stop.

17 year old Joshua William Wright was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 4:28am. His address is listed on Katie Lane, according to warrants.

A deputy with the Uniform Patrol Division during routine road patrol operations around 2:35am observed a burgundy SUV with no tag lights and initiated a traffic stop on North Highway 11 and Flat Shoals Road.

The vehicle was occupied by two males with Wright being the driver. The deputy noticed that both subjects were acting strange by not making eye contact. Wright told the deputy after being asked by the officer that there was nothing illegal in the vehicle nor was there any alcohol. Wright did tell the deputy after being asked that there was a rifle in the vehicle, which the deputy did later take for safe keeping.

After a second deputy arrived to provide assistance, both individuals exited the vehicle, whereupon the deputy noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The passenger said that there was marijuana in his back pack while Wright told the deputy that there were prescription drugs that belonged to a family member in the back seat.

A search of the vehicle revealed a quantity of marijuana plus drug paraphernalia in the back pack. The search also produced a Ziploc bag with prescription pills inside which was located inside the vehicle.

The passenger was issued two citations for simple possession of marijuana and for a violation of the county drug paraphernalia ordinance and released to a family member.

Wright was taken to the Detention Center, where he has been charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance for possessing approximately 324 Oxycodone Pills. Wright has also been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance for possessing a quantity of Lyrica.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Man on Outstanding Breach of Trust Warrant

Larry Eugene Price, Jr.

Larry Eugene Price, Jr.

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster man on an outstanding warrant in a Breach of Trust case.

34 year old Larry Eugene Price, Jr. was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 6:35am. He was arrested at an address on Mullins Ford Landing Road, which is the road he resides on according to the warrant.

A warrant obtained by a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division on June 12th accuses Price, Jr. of receiving around $3,500 in cash from an individual in Seneca who gave Price, Jr. the money for materials to do a roofing job.

The deputy spoke with the victim on June 11th. The victim told the deputy that the money was given to Price, Jr. on March 25th of this year. After repeated calls with no reply and visiting Price, Jr. at the Mullins Ford Landing Road address, Price, Jr. told the victim that he would be over in the next day or two to do the work and even brought over some pieces of metal roofing.

Price, Jr. then told the victim that the rest of the material was at a business but he had not picked it up yet. The victim contacted the business and was told that there was not an order in the victim’s name or Price, Jr’s name.

Price, Jr. was released from the Detention Center yesterday on a $10,000 surety bond.