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McBride says he would make changes as sheriff

Chad McBride said Tuesday that he is campaigning to become Anderson County sheriff because changes are needed to more effectively combat crime.

“Our county has been going through some really tough times lately,” McBride said while formally announcing his candidacy at Walker Century Farms Market in northern Anderson County. “Law-abiding citizens are just getting hammered every day by these criminals.”

Speaking to about 30 supporters, McBride said residents throughout the county “feel slighted and ignored by the very office that is supposed to provide for their safety.”

Citing what he described as “probably the highest turnover rate in the history” of the Sheriff’s Office, McBride said the county’s largest law enforcement agency is suffering from low morale.

“The current state of affairs in Anderson County is unacceptable, and this much change,” he said.

McBride was Sheriff John Skipper’s media spokesman before becoming director of campus security for NewSpring Church in 2013. In addition to prior experience as a road-patrol deputy and investigator, he served in the Army Reserve and National Guard. He also is an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Anderson University.

He is among three challengers running against Skipper in the June 2016 Republican Party primary. The other two candidates are former sheriff’s investigator Stan Ashley and former South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremy Pickens.

Skipper, who is seeking a third term, responded to McBride’s comments in a phone interview.

“We are having a crime spree,” Skipper said.

Despite the best efforts of his deputies, he said, problems in the criminal justice make it impossible to keep criminals “in jail long enough to give citizens relief.”

Skipper said turnover at the Sheriff’s Office was higher before he took office eight years ago. He said the recently approved raises have helped stem the loss of employees.

He also said his office’s national accreditation is a sign that it is well-run.

“We try to handle all of the issues as professionally and as fast as we can,” Skipper said.

At his campaign event, McBride said the Sheriff’s Office is plagued by a “stagnant culture of unchanging management.”

McBride said he would cut the office’s command staff by half on his first day as sheriff. He also said he would conduct “an immediate top-to-bottom review” of programs and embrace a more modern approach to law enforcement.

“I will be the toughest sheriff you have ever seen,” McBride said. “I will go ahead and apologize to our neighboring counties and Georgia because we are going to run a lot of criminals out of Anderson County. They will need a new home.”

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