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Burnettown Police Department criticizes Solicitor’s Office with social media post

December 7, 2018

A post was sent out over the Facebook page of the the Burnettown Police Department, a small agency within the Town of Burnettown in Aiken County, Tuesday afternoon criticizing the Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office and was removed two hours later.

The post criticized the Solicitor’s Office for giving plea deals to two individuals recently arrested in Burnettown, which allowed them to be released from jail after only about a month behind bars.

The post was put up on the department’s Facebook account around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

After about an hour online, the post had gone viral with more than 100 shares and generated dozens of comments supporting the police department with residents voicing their personal concerns. The post was then removed around 6:30 p.m.

The Facebook post read, “Hello everyone. We went back and forth about posting this and we decided to do it out of frustration. We and what I mean by we is all law enforcement in Aiken County SC (that’s all I can speak on behalf for) are frustrated with the Solicitors Office. We go out everyday and risk our lives and make good arrests on drug users, drug dealers, drunk drivers, and all other felony violators. We then spend hours doing reports, typing arrest warrants, getting a judge to sign those warrants, serving the warrants, and the doing a General Session packet and downloading videos for the solicitors office for them to just turn around and release the offenders. We ( Burnettown Police Department) just received two notices from the Aiken County Solicitors Office of cases that were adjudicated. These two offenders were both charged with possession of Meth. They accepted a plea deal from the solicitors office. Anyone know what that deal was? Well I will tell you. They plead guilty to time served. They did 42 days in Aiken county Jail for possession of Meth. People can be sentenced longer for driving under suspension than possession of Meth. Please remember this when you vote. I promise you it’s not the police not doing our jobs. All they care about is getting guilty pleas. Officers get blamed all the time for criminals being back on the street and this is why. Drug addicts steal. Sorry to say but it’s true. And when we arrest them they get released with a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again. Bet they wouldn’t do that if their stuff was stolen. Sorry for the rant but we wanted to put this out. We WILL continue to do our jobs because we care about our community just know we are trying. God Bless you all.”

The post claimed to speak on behalf of all law enforcement agencies in Aiken County, but after the Aiken Standard reached out to both the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office and the Aiken Department of Public Safety, both agencies distanced themselves from the post – public information officers for both agencies had no comment on the situation.

Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor Strom Thurmond Jr. responded to the post Tuesday by saying, “We generally do not respond to Facebook posts and are focused on the murder case we are trying in Aiken General Sessions Court this week. My office moves in excess of 3,000 criminal cases per year, and I have asked Chief (Jeff) Key (of the Burnettown Police Department) for details on the two drug cases referenced by his employees on social media.”

An attempt was also made to reach out to Burnettown Police Chief Jeff Key by phone for comment, but he has not yet returned the call.

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