Letter to the editor from John Long
After several weeks of prayer and input from my wife, community members, and my attorney, I have come to the determination that it is best that I end my employment at Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office effective immediately. After being demoted and having my pay reduced drastically, I have no choice but to resign. I feel It is obvious the Sheriff, Dennis Kelly, has painted a target on my forehead and I would be coming back to a hostile environment. I believe I can master any position at the Sheriff’s Office, but I’m not willing to worry each time I report for duty. I have the utmost respect for the men and women that work in the uniform patrol division, but the writing is on the wall and there is no way for me to be successful under Dennis Kelly. I have dedicated myself to the betterment of Sheriff’s Office for 14 years. It was not easy to come to this conclusion. After being called in by Dennis and called a liar, talked down too for supporting Tony Davis, and Dennis threatening me with a polygraph; my mind was pretty much made up. But still I prayed daily for answers on what I should do. After getting a late-night call to be told Dennis Kelly said he knew I was going to run against him and that he would put me on the road and force me to resign, I finally found my answer. I have been nothing but supportive of Dennis Kelly since day one and for all the right reasons.
I believe this is an unfair and unjustified demotion that is politically motivated and is the same as firing me from the Sheriff’s Office. I have been given nothing in writing stating why I have been demoted or any justification why my salary is being reduced. It is sad that in South Carolina, Police officers, like myself, who work to protect the public and uphold the constitution are not themselves given the basic employment rights to due process and a fair grievance hearing.
Always remember the Sheriff does not make up the Sheriff’s Office. Like I’ve said before, the Sheriff is subject to change every four years. The men and women who work in the trenches are the face of the office. I can honestly say that I feel like I left the Communications Center and the job I am vacating better than I found them. I know the employees are being told not to voice their opinion but I appreciate all of the support and I’m sorry it has come to this. For now, I’m going to put my law enforcement career at the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office on hold and prepare for the future.
Stay safe and keep doing your best!