I am honored and humbled to be standing in front of you today as the South Carolina Sheriffs' Association President. I am privileged to stand with my fellow Sheriffs and continue to represent as 46 Sheriffs with 1 Voice. We must continue to be the standard in our communities and within our profession. This standard does not mean that you are perfect, it does however mean that daily you strive to serve with integrity, dignity, and respect of the office in which we have taken our Oath. We are blessed every day to serve the men and women of our agencies and those that live and work within our counties. Simply put, Luke 12: 48 instructs us that, 'to whom much is given, much is required.' The requirements do not come without sacrifice. We must be careful that the sacrifice does not cost you, YOU! Don't forget the YOU behind the badge. The YOU that drew you to this profession, The You that fueled your passion to serve your community, The YOU that causes you to be seen as a hero in the eyes of others but a servant at heart. The You that has a family who cares about you and prays for them every day and night. The YOU that needs to realize that your shoulders are not designed to carry the weight of the World. Yes, we are considered superheroes in many regards, but we must know when and how to take the capes off. This year we will remain focused on the agenda of LEGISLATION, concentrating on topics such as deleting the earnings limitation on retired law enforcement and rehires, continuing to fight "medical" marijuana and income tax deduction on all income for militant and first responders. I encourage each of you to not only focus on the enforcement of your agency's responsibilities that protect your communities but also on the victim services units that support the victims of crime within your counties emotionally and financially. Invest in the training of this valuable asset to your agency. These are not just "do-gooders" that you are mandated to have by legislation, they are bridgebuilders with your community and are an important part of your community policing initiatives. Every day our guys hear what they aren't, from many who will never take a step in their shoes. We must be intentional about reminding them they are to always represent what RIGHT looks like and embody what it means to be integral. We are the good guys and that means something. We are the ones who run to danger when others run away. We are the ones who continue showing up, even where there is no thank you. We are the ones who lay our lives on the line every day for the sake of peace. We understand it will always be bigger than us. My fellow Sheriffs, keep those around you who will question and respectfully challenge the "way it's always been done" and will not be afraid to redirect to the RIGHT thing to do. I leave you with what has carried me for 30+ years of service - serve with humility, keep God first and always remain firm, fair, and consistent. May God Keep us ALL.
Sheriff Leroy Ravenell
Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office
SC Sheriffs' Association 2022-2023 President