BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis is asking county council for additional funding for riot gear in wake of recent civil unrest in the Lowcountry and across the nation.
Sheriff Lewis said he needs the extra money so that his deputies have the equipment they need in case of future event like we saw in downtown Charleston on May 30.
“We were called to assist Charleston city police with the disturbance they had downtown,” recalled Sheriff Lewis. “I sent approximately 20 to 25 deputies.”
They also assisted the Summerville Police Department with demonstrations on Monday. Protests there remained peaceful.
“We’ve also recently been asked to assist Moncks Corner should anything develop in their jurisdiction as well,” he said.
The requests have shown a need for more equipment.
“It was fairly chaotic and our deputies arrived and some of them were sprayed with gas and that took them out of protecting the citizens during that time and I don’t want that to happen up here or anywhere else,” said Sheriff Lewis of the downtown riot.
Fortunately, the department was able to borrow some equipment from around the state.
Sheriff Lewis is asking for $65,000-$66,000 from county council. That will pay for gear like shields, masks, helmets and other things for 20-25 deputies to respond.
“This will enable us to respond and contain the situation until a much larger force can come and assist,” he said.
Sheriff Lewis went on to say, “I really would like to spend money on other things. But the climate around the country and the way things are today it would be irresponsible for me not to have the deputies in the proper gear to protect themselves.”
Sheriff Lewis will make the request during Monday’s county council meeting.