Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces Two Graduates from the Basic Law Enforcement Program

Jordei Jameson and Colby Mize

Jordei Jameson and Colby Mize

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office announces that on Friday morning, March 6th two deputies graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement program from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

The two deputies, Jordei Jameson and Colby Mize, are the seventh and eighth graduates from the program since Mike Crenshaw was sworn in as Sheriff on January 1st, 2013.

The guest speaker at the Basic Law Enforcement Session 628 graduation exercises was Chief Sonny Ledda of the Laurens Police Department.

Jameson was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in September of 2014. She is a graduate of Daniel High School and has an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Wesleyan University. Jameson worked in the private sector before being hired by the Sheriff’s Office. Jameson has been assigned to Delta Shift of the Uniformed Patrol Unit.

Mize was also hired by the Sheriff’s Office in September of 2014. He is a graduate of Walhalla High School and was an active duty soldier with the U.S. Army. Mize has been assigned to the Charlie Shift of the Uniformed Patrol Unit.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Early Morning Shooting near Seneca

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an early morning shooting near Seneca that resulted in multiple people being taken to local hospitals.

Around 12:35am this morning, deputies from the Uniformed Patrol division as well as units from the Seneca Police Department were dispatched to Sonny’s Bar and Grill near the intersection of Wells Highway and Shiloh Road in regards to a fight in progress.

While officers were enroute, dispatchers were informed that multiple shots had been fired and reportedly multiple victims had been struck. One of the victims was in front of the business with a gunshot wound to his midsection when deputies arrived. That victim was taken to Oconee Memorial Hospital and then later transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital. Other victims may have been transported to hospitals by unknown subjects that were at the incident location.

Once the scene was secure, deputies began to process the crime scene and began to obtain information from the patrons and employees of the business and observed damage to the front glass of the business as well as damage to a vehicle in the parking lot. Deputies also report that maybe as many as 100 people may have been in the crowd when reports came in of a fight in progress.

The Sheriff’s Office does not have any official information on the condition of any of the victims involved.

If you have any information on this shooting that occurred at Sonny’s Bar and Grill in Seneca on Wells Highway at Shiloh Road or potential suspects involved, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, 864-638-STOP, or text in your tip to 274637. You don’t have to give your name and if you tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

OCPL TO HOLD DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE PROGRAM HONORING VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST AND NAZI PERSECUTION

Information Courtesy of Leah Price
Westminster Branch Manager

[WESTMINSTER, SC]—On Monday, April 13th, 2015, the Oconee County Public Library will take part in the nationwide effort to honor the victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution by holding a Days of Remembrance program at the Westminster Library at 6:00pm. The event coincides with the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust established by Congress and led by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The program, which is open to all ages, will feature Mrs. Trude Heller. Mrs. Heller, widow to former Greenville mayor Max Heller, will share her story of surviving the Holocaust by escaping from Austria in 1938 when she was 15 years old, as well as her husband’s story and other events of the time.

“The further we get from the events of the Holocaust, the more important it is for us to remember,” says program coordinator and Westminster Branch Manager Leah Price. “To be able to hear a survivor tell their story in person will give us that personal connection so we won’t forget.” The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims—six million were murdered; Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), people with mental and physical disabilities, and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents, also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi Germany.

Through our Days of Remembrance event, the Oconee County Public Library seeks both to commemorate this tragic history and to reflect on the lessons it holds for our lives today. We also pay tribute to the rescuers who risked their lives to save others during the Holocaust and to the American soldiers who liberated the concentration camps and invite them to attend.

“It’s not enough to curse the darkness of the past. We have to illuminate the future,” explains Holocaust survivor Estelle Laughlin. “On Days of Remembrance the most important thing to remember is the humanity that is in all of us to leave the world better for our children and for posterity.” To learn more about our event, visit our website at www.oconeelibrary.com or call 364-5760. To learn more about Days of Remembrance, including a map of remembrance events around the country, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website at ushmm.org/remember.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Invites Residents to Sign Up for the 2nd Citizens Police Academy

Citizens Police Academy Logo

Citizens Police Academy Logo

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is inviting Oconee County residents to sign up now for the 2nd Citizens Police Academy that will give individuals a chance to experience what a day in the life of a police officer is all about.

Citizens of Oconee County can sign up now for the classes at the website of the Sheriff’s Office at www.oconeelaw.com by clicking on the “Citizens Police Academy” link near the upper right portion of the website. Applications will need to be printed off and mailed to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 415 South Pine Street, Walhalla, SC 29691.

Those who are selected will have a chance to meet the Command Staff and many of the deputies of the Sheriff’s Office. Some of the topics covered will be patrol operations, equipment and its uses, criminal investigations, E-911 communications, SWAT team operations, plus a judicial overview by one of the local judges, information on detention and narcotics. On a Saturday during the classes, instructees will observe a SWAT team demonstration. At the conclusion of the classes, those who participate will be given a shirt, a certificate and a class photo.

There is a selection process for those who sign up, which includes a background check, according to Sgt. McGowan. Sgt. McGowan is hoping to reach demographics from every walk of life in Oconee County, with the class size limited to 25 due to logistic limitations. The classes will meet for 10 consecutive weeks on Tuesday evenings with one Saturday meeting for the SWAT demonstration.

Participation in all the classes is important, according to Sgt. McGowan, due to the fact of the volume of information that is going to be presented. Missing two of more classes may result in a disqualification from the program.

The dates for the second “Citizens Police Academy” will be each Tuesday from Tuesday, September 1st until Tuesday, November 3rd from 6pm until 9pm each night. The SWAT demonstration will take place at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Advance Firearms and Tactical Training Center on Saturday, September 19th from 9am until 12 noon. All those who are selected with be notified. There is no cost for those who are selected for the “Citizens Police Academy.”

Those who participate and graduate from this year’s class will join the graduates of the 1st Citizens Police Academy in the “Citizens Police Academy Alumni.” These alumni will have an opportunity to support the Sheriff’s Office by encouraging participation in future academies and to promote the Sheriff’s Office through their contact with others outside the Sheriff’s Office.

Last November, 24 Oconee citizens graduated from the 1st Citizens Police Academy.

“Road Warriors” Trucking Program at the Walhalla Library

Information Courtesy of Emily Embry
Walhalla Branch Manager

(Walhalla, SC) – Breaker, breaker to all you truck fans out there. Yes, despite some misconceptions out there, the library loves trucks and truckers! In fact, you can see one up close! Come to the Road Warriors program on Saturday, March 7 at 11 a.m. at the Walhalla Main Library. Kids will get a chance to hear stories and meet a real truck driver (and see his big rig!) Adults can hear more about life on the road, the career of truck driving, and hear more about how to get a commercial driver’s license. So come on out on Saturday, March 7 at 11 a.m. to the Walhalla Library and Keep on Trucking!

Oconee Heritage Center Set For a Special Exhibit Opening

Information Courtesy of Oconee Heritage Center

Join us at the Oconee Heritage Center for a special exhibit opening!

“The Shaping of South Carolina: A Story of Adventure, Politics, and Boundary Making” is a special exhibit on loan from the South Carolina Historical Society detailing the disputes, politics, and science surrounding the state’s boundary lines from colonial times to the present. The exhibit features original maps from the collection of the South Carolina Historical Society, and quotations concerning the science of surveying from noted surveyor and Revolutionary hero, General William Moultrie. In addition, the exhibit highlights the borders that are still in contention today.

The exhibit grand opening and reception will be Friday, March 6 at 6pm. Special guest speaker Alan-Jon Zupan of the SC Geodetic Survey Commission will present a program at 6:30pm about the borders of South Carolina and the political issues involved in accurately maintaining the boundaries. The exhibit will be open during the Oconee Heritage Center’s normal business hours Tuesday through Saturday 11am until 5pm from March 6 until August 1. Oconee Heritage Center is located at 123 Brown’s Square Drive in Walhalla, SC. Special group tours can be arranged by contacting OHC staff at 864-638-2224 or info@oconeeheritagecenter.org. Admissions is free. Donations are welcome.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Man on Multiple Charges; Assault and Battery and Kidnapping Among Them

Joshua Guy Brock

Joshua Guy Brock

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a Westminster man last night with multiple charges after deputies responded to a residence for a welfare check.

25 year old Joshua Guy Brock of 330 Jeremy Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 8:37am this morning.

Once deputies arrived on the scene at the Jeremy Drive address after receiving a call from a complainant that a male victim was being held hostage, Brock was seen on the front porch of the residence with his wife and with the suspect’s father inside the house.

As the parties were separated and the investigation began, deputies were told that Brock and his wife had been arguing while enroute back home from Georgia and once they arrived at the residence. Brock’s father had tried to calm Brock down, but Brock reportedly struck his father on the back with a handgun and held the muzzle against his father’s neck while making threats to kill both his wife and father if law enforcement was called.

Brock’s wife stated that both her and her father-in-law wanted to leave but Brock refused to do let them do so and held them against their will. The wife also stated that she was in fear of her life.

As the investigation continued, deputies discovered a handgun on the person of Brock with a fully loaded magazine and one round in the chamber. After securing the weapon, deputies discovered that Brock had fired multiple rounds in the yard during the argument. Deputies were able to locate rounds in the yard in the area where the father said they were shot.

In warrants obtained today by the Sheriff’s Office, Brock has been charged with two counts of Possession of a Weapon during Commission of a Violent Crime, one count of Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature, one count of Assault and Battery – First Degree, and two counts of Kidnapping.

Brock is being held at the Oconee County Detention Center on a combined $180,000 surety bond on all charges.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Issues Arrest Warrants in West Union Armed Robbery

Adam Richardson Martin

Adam Richardson Martin

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has issued arrest warrants this afternoon regarding a Monday morning armed robbery at a West Union residence.

Deputies responded to an address on Murphree Drive around 11:13am due to reports of an armed robbery that had occurred involving a couple. Deputies were told that the suspect, Adam Richardson Martin, was coming over to do some yard work. Once Martin arrived, he asked to speak to the couple in the living room.

During the conversation, Martin told the couple that he was not stable and that they were good people. Mr. Martin then reportedly pulled out a black in color handgun and asked for the couple’s valuables. Martin then took around $500 in cash and a box of jewelry. Martin also collected all cell phones and vehicle keys but left those items at the bottom of the driveway at the request of the couple.

The case was then turned over the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office.

In warrants obtained this afternoon, Martin, who resides at an address on Edgewood Avenue in Clemson, has been charged with two counts of armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of Possession of a Weapon during Commission of a Violent Crime.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Warns Citizens of Possible Meth Dangers on Roadways

Meth Picture Five

Meth Picture Four

Meth Picture One

Meth Picture Six

Meth Picture Three

Meth Picture Two

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(THE ABOVE PICTURES ARE NOT PICTURES OF WHAT WAS DISCOVERED ALONG THE ROAD THIS PAST SATURDAY BUT ONLY ARE PRESENTED AS EXAMPLES OF WHAT CITIZENS SHOULD LOOK FOR AND WHAT TO AVOID)

(Walhalla, SC)——————Over the weekend, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a concerned citizen who, along with a family member, was picking up trash along a section of Cleveland Pike Road in western Oconee County and noticed suspicious items along the roadway.

Among the items found were a plastic bag with multiple empty packages of Sudafed and broken down batteries. Also found were two bottles that a contained a white in color, powdery substance inside all of them. Also discovered were other bottles that contained tubes and syringes inside and a pile of syringes lying on the side of the roadway.

Narcotics agents arrived on the scene and secured the items in their vehicles and took them away from the scene. While an official determination has yet to be made on the items recovered, it appears that those items recovered may have been used or has the markings of possible methamphetamine production.

With spring around the corner and citizens cleaning up their properties or helping to pick up litter on the roads, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone that those items found this weekend could be potentially dangerous.

Meth can be made in 2-liter drink bottles which after they are used are often discarded on the side of the road. The color of the meth in many cases can be determined by the color of the pills used to make meth. Pseudoephedrine, such as the Sudafed packages found on the scene Saturday, are one of the primary ingredients used to make the drug.

Because of the chemicals and products used to make meth can be dangerous when mixed together, opening a bottle that potentially contains those substances could be explosive when those products come in contact with moisture in the air. Also breathing in those substances can cause internal damage to one’s body, including severe internal burning which could involve receiving medical attention.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind our citizens that if they come across 2 liter drink bottles on the side of the road to not open them or in any way touch them, especially if the contents appear to be suspicious, such as having what appears to be sand in the bottom of the bottle. If you discover those bottles or syringes, walk away from the area and contact your local law enforcement agency, as the situation then becomes an emergency response situation.

Also, if you come in contact with any of the substances, you should immediately call 911 and be examined by emergency medical responders.

Oconee Veterans, Oconee VA Office Set To Recognize 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

Vietnam Wall

Release Courtesy of Janice Matheson
Assistant Veterans Affairs Director
Oconee County Veterans Affairs Office

(Walhalla)—Veterans across Oconee County and the local VA Office are teaming up with the Department of Defense in recognizing the “commemoration” of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Jerry Dyar, Director of the Oconee County Veterans Affairs Office says, “Oconee County has been recognized, by the Department of Defense, as a Commemorative Partner for the next three (3) years, in calling attention to our great veterans who served in uniform during the Vietnam War”. Dyar added, “As a part of what our county will be doing for the next three years, we will be sponsoring at least two events yearly to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that war”.

As a part of the commemorative effort, the Department of Defense has issue a beautiful flag that has been provided to Oconee County and will be unveiled in a special ceremony on March 28th at the Gignilliat Community Center Gym in Seneca. Following the unveiling of the flag, it will fly for 30 days on the flag pole at the VA Office in Walhalla, after which it will be framed and put on permanent display along with the 50th Anniversary flags from World War II and the Korean War in the lobby of the county VA office.

Dyar said this will be the first of six (6) events over the next three years to honor the men and women of Oconee County for their service during the Vietnam War. Judge Alex MacCaulay, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, will be the keynote speaker for the March 28th event. More information on the ceremony will be forthcoming, according to Dyar.