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Darnell “Bubba” Johnson has announced that he will be a candidate for Orangeburg County sheriff in the 2020 election.

Johnson, 36, is an Orangeburg native, a graduate of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, 11-year certified law enforcement officer (state and federal), local business owner, and a military veteran (U.S. Marine Corps and S.C. Army National Guard). He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology/criminal justice from Claflin University and a master of arts degree in criminal justice from Columbia College, Columbia.

“Violent crimes are up 70 percent, crimes to persons are up 60 percent, property crimes are up 60 percent and financial crimes are up 80 percent,” Johnson said.

“Community-oriented policing is a must have. We want happy and safe people who trust and believe in their community and the sheriff’s office. I will foster those relationships through effective communication and community policing. I will seek national law enforcement accreditation for the sheriff’s office to improve the professional operating standards, which in turn will make the sheriff’s office eligible for additional governmental funding and save local taxpayer dollars while providing and improving excellence in customer service.”

Johnson said he’s always had an interest in law enforcement.

“I grew up watching ‘Cops,’ ‘CHiPs’, ‘Real Stories of the Highway Patrol’ and ‘In the Heat of the Night.’ I have always wanted to be guardian of our community and provide overwatch services.”

He quoted Isaiah 6:8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, here am I, send me!

“Now is the time to move Orangeburg County forward!” he said.

Johnson’s campaign platform is “ReBirth the Agency,” which he said focuses on providing “excellent customer service and fixing what’s broken.” He breaks it down into three pillars: CompStat (computer statistics) implementation to reduce crime significantly, TrafficStat (traffic statistics) implementation to reduce highway fatalities in Orangeburg County, which presently represent 35 fatalities so far in 2019 and 36 fatalities in 2018.

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“We must assist the S.C. Highway Patrol in reducing these numbers,” he said, adding that TrafficStat allows for the apprehension of criminal offenders with active arrest warrants and other possible criminal offenders as well who are “up to no good.”

The last pillar is Community Oriented Policing, which focuses specifically on community relationship building, excellence in customer service and crime prevention.

“We have too many holes in Orangeburg that need to be filled and it’s time to fill them in order to protect and provide for generations to come. It’s now about our children and your grandchildren,” Johnson said. “I presented a comprehensive plan before and I’m here to present one now. ... It’s often said, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!’

“As a business owner, it’s extremely difficult to attract investors to our community when it’s riddled with extremely high crime statistics. My plan addresses the economic development impact in Orangeburg County. Thus, aligning with the Economic Development Commission’s Mission of “One Orangeburg” creating more employment opportunities for our citizens.

“Orangeburg County has become a place of havoc and turmoil, and we simply will not tolerate it. Our citizens are getting murdered in their homes at an alarming rate. Homicides, drug dealing, criminal gangs, burglaries and robberies are at an all-time high.

“Lastly, we must stop criminalizing poverty. Crime is everywhere in this county.”

Johnson said he doesn’t just want the people’ support, he wants to inspire it.

“We may have been delayed, but we are not denied,” he said. “I challenge you to follow the facts of this political season and my campaign for sheriff as I seek to become your sheriff of Orangeburg County.”

Johnson said he can be reached at 803-747-2163.

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