The CAT Team was established by Sheriff Lewis to restore trust, provide support and build a stronger relationship with the communities. Members of the team maintain a liaison with the Citizens Advisory Board members to identify concerns in their communities and develop strategies to address their concerns.
In 2018, the CAT team was increased by eight members with the acceptance of a one million-dollar COPS grant. These members specifically address crime problems in the Sangaree area and the Goose Creek rural areas in the vicinity of Red Bank Road. The unit has been very successful in building relationships with members of these communities to collectively reduce crime.
Throughout the years, there has been an increase in calls for service involving littering. The Sheriff’s Office has deputies assigned to litter control. The Palmetto Pride Grant provides funds to enforce litter statutes and promote anti-litter campaigns.
The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office has deputies assigned to eleven schools (six middle schools and 5 high schools) in the County. School Resource Officers (SROs) provide security for students and staff. Sheriff Lewis re-instituted the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.). This program is taught in middle schools by 4 certified SRO D.A.R.E. Instructors. Students can choose to attend the Sheriff’s Office Summer Camp [link] that is run by SRO Deputies. This affords juveniles throughout the County an opportunity to connect with deputies.
In 2018, SROs handled 2,640 incidents during the school year and made 360 arrests, mostly related to drug possession, assaults, and theft.
SROs attend Youth Court in Goose Creek once a month on Saturdays. The Youth Court handles all juvenile cases in the County. There were approximately 30 cases heard in Youth Court in 2018.
Sheriff Lewis established the citizens Advisory Board to serve as the voice of their communities and act as liaisons to the Sheriff’s Office. The Citizens Advisory Board currently has 24 members representing the communities in Berkeley County. Board Members meet with the Sheriff and his staff on a regular basis to stay informed of the activities of the Sheriff’s Office and address issues affecting their communities. CAT deputies area assigned to 20 geographic areas of the county and to specific Citizen Advisory Board members. They maintain weekly contact with members of the Citizen Advisory Board.