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3 Democrats seek to become Bamberg County sheriff
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Bamberg County

3 Democrats seek to become Bamberg County sheriff

Voting ballot box illustration

Three Democratic candidates are running to replace longtime Bamberg County Sheriff Ed Darnell, who is retiring.

Kenneth Bamberg, T. Ben Hay and Eddie Williams Jr. will all be on the ballot in the June 9 Democratic primary.

Republican Fred Smart is also running for sheriff.

Kenneth Bamberg

Bamberg is a senior investigator in the 2nd Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

He stated he wants to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

“I’m qualified, I’m energized and I’m committed. I’m trying to make a positive difference with law enforcement in Bamberg County. I believe that when we work together with the community that we serve, that we can overcome many of the challenges that we face,” Bamberg said.

“There are four key things that I would like to try and focus on. That is to increase law enforcement visibility throughout the county, to implement a system to check on and take care of our senior citizens and elderly citizens that we have here. It is more effective community-oriented policing, and basically just to serve and to protect,” Bamberg said.

“I believe that the people are the police and the police are the people,” Bamberg said.

He said he plans to evaluate the sheriff’s office and then make decisions based on his assessment.

“One of the things is, first, I’m going to evaluate the situation, and to be fair and that is what I’m all about,” Bamberg said.

Bamberg served as a military policeman in the U.S. Army, as a policeman for the Barnwell County Sheriff’s office and police chief for the Blackville Police Office.

Bamberg believes he is the best candidate based on his experience.

“Based on everything that I’ve done in my life, it’s kind of prepared me for this opportunity to continue serving and protecting, and to be able to do that at the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office,” Bamberg said.

T. Ben Hay

Hay is the chief deputy of the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office.

He is a 1989 graduate of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School and a 1997 graduate of Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

Hay believes he is the best candidate because of his experience.

“Over the last years, I’ve gained considerable experience in every aspect of law enforcement. I’ve been in Bamberg County for my entire career of 23 years. I’ve worked tirelessly with the citizens of Bamberg County, handling every level of criminal cases,” Hay said.

Hay detailed his goals for the office.

“I’ll continue to work with the citizens to provide an environment where the children and grandchildren can prosper. I’m aware of the challenges in our community, and want to improve the community and law enforcement relationships,” Hay said.

Hay said he will work to “build upon the legacy of Sheriff Darnell.” He stated that he will continue with Darnell’s open-door policy, as well.

Hay also stated that he will work to continue to improve the sheriff office’s relationship with citizens.

Eddie Williams Jr.

Williams is the pastor of Hutto Chapel Baptist Church and captain of special operations for the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office.

He is a graduate of Voorhees High School.

Williams says he wants to make things better.

“I believe at this juncture in time, the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office needs leadership with a heart, compassion and with a vision to make things better, not just for the sheriff’s office, but for the county as a whole,” Williams said. “I believe that I can make a difference.”

Williams said, “I want to make the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office second to none in the state. I believe that’s possible.”

He said he’ll work to treat everybody equally.

Williams said that he would like to initiate a youth program in the county.

“What I’m looking to do is a program for children from age 5 and maybe 10. I’ve found that there are a lot of young kids that seem to have an interest in law enforcement, and so I want to start a program,” Williams said. Williams stated that he would refer to the participants as “junior deputies.”

Williams said the program would educate the youth about the rights and wrongs of society, the rights and wrongs of law enforcement, and the rights and wrongs of life.

Contact the writer: or 803-596-6530.


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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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