FLORENCE, S.C. — Jody Lynch and Darrin Yarborough are vying to be the Democratic nominee for Florence County sheriff.
Lynch operates her own security and disaster-relief company.
Lynch's father was in the military and her family moved around a lot when she was young.
She said one of the places she remembers most is Fort Benning.
Lynch followed her father's footsteps and joined the military when she graduated from high school. She eventually became a security police officer.
When she left the military, she moved with her then-husband to his home of Florence County. Lynch then joined the Florence Police Department and, later, the Florence County Sheriff's Office.
She ran against former Sheriff Kenney Boone in 2016 but lost.
Lynch said Wednesday that she received a lot of opportunities for her security business following her campaign.
If elected, she would the first female sheriff in the history of the state.
Why she's running
"When it comes to the law enforcement aspect, women think with their hearts ... In that kind of position, somebody with a heart and with compassion for the people is what's been lacking and that's what it needs."
Lynch added that she wanted to be the first female sheriff in the state but not the last.
Yarborough has been a law enforcement officer for 27 years. He spent more than 20 years working for the Florence County Sheriff's Office and also stints with the Darlington County Sheriff's Office and the Darlington City Police Department. He currently works at Blue Line Shooting Center.
He is a graduate of West Florence High School and Florence-Darlington Technical College. Yarborough said he plans to attend Coker University in the fall.
Yarborough's wife is a teacher at South Florence High School. The couple has two children and five grandchildren.
Why he's running
"Well, 27 years of law enforcement [experience], 23 of it at the Florence County Sheriff's Office. At this point in time, I don't like the way our sheriff's office is going. For the last three years or so, our sheriff's office has started to go in a negative way. As a law enforcement officer, when you see things like that, you can either do one of two things: You can stand around and complain about it or you can get yourself in a position to make it right."
The position of sheriff is established by the state Constitution. The state Constitution also establishes that each county is elect a sheriff every four years. State code outlines the duties and obligations of the sheriff position including enforcement of the laws and maintenance of records required by law.
From 2004 to January 2020, the position of sheriff was filled by Republican Kenney Boone. In 2019, Boone was arrested and suspended. Former Florence County Sheriff William C. “Billy” Barnes was appointed interim sheriff. In 2020, Boone pleaded guilty to two charges and was permanently removed from the office by Gov. Henry D. McMaster. Barnes will serve until Boone’s permanent replacement is elected in November.
Plans if elected
Yarborough said he wanted to rebuild the relationship between the office and the community. He emphasized the need to be visible.
He wants to improve the administration of the department, provide better training to the department, and also to make sure the detention center employees feel they are a part of the office.
Lynch said she planned to be a very involved sheriff and be very visible in the community.
Lynch also said that no one else in the sheriff's office should be a politician beyond the sheriff.
Both candidates emphasized the need for body cameras.
The primary election is scheduled for June 9. The winner will take on the winner of the Republican primary, either T.J. Joye or Glen Kirby. Frizell Moore has indicated that he will be running as a petition candidate.
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