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Richland County Sheriff's Department
Tuesday April 12th, 2011 :: 02:19 p.m. EDT


Task Force gets new home - community/law enforcement partnerships make it possible

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Colonel Alvin Taylor celebrated the grand opening of the Richland County Marine Patrol Task Force Headquarters with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

During the event held Tuesday 4/12/11 at Lighthouse Marina, Sheriff Leon Lott and Colonel Alvin Taylor discussed the importance of agencies working together.

"Today is about people working together to keep our kids safe," said Sheriff Lott. "Even with the economy and budget cuts we must still continue to keep everyone safe."

"What we have here is a monumental partnership between Law Enforcement and the community- it's a great day," added Colonel Taylor.

Sheriff Lott said both agencies work closely together on the land and on water and will now be sharing the same office at minimal cost to the taxpayers.

Sheriff Lott said, "Everything was donated because members of the community liked the idea and thought it was important."

The collaboration between the two agencies has been successful for the last several years; and now with the new donated facility, the agencies will be able to pool resources to create greater awareness of the importance of boating safety.

Sheriff Lott added that four people died on Lake Murray in Richland County last year and that educational boater safety classes will now be possible using this new facility in hopes to prevent any deaths or injuries.

In addition to unveiling the new facility, the Sheriff unveiled a 28’ Conquest boat that has been donated for use as a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) boat. The boat will be used to patrol Lake Murray and to visit schools and community events. The boat is marked with D.A.R.E. representing the program which is a vital role in keeping our children safe and drug free.

The land was donated by Lighthouse Marina, the building (a 24x44 foot ‘portable’) donated by a local school district most of the building material donated by area business and the construction done by personnel from the Sheriff’s Department and DNR; the cost to citizens is minimal but the benefits are tremendous.

Sheriff Leon Lott and Colonel Alvin Taylor stressed the importance of all citizens taking the time and effort toward making our waterways safer. They are asking that everyone do their part toward boating safety and are providing just a few simple tips that can make the difference between life and death:

•Personal flotation devices – they must fit correctly, be used for the intended purposes and everyone must have one
•When it comes to children, personal flotation devices should always be worn near any body of water
•Boating safety checklist should always be followed when operating a water craft which includes navigational lights, first aid kit, fire extinguishers and audible devices
•No operation of water craft while under the influence of alcohol – if you are going to consume alcohol while boating please use a designated driver and you must be over the age of 21

There were several individuals and business that helped make this project possible:
•Lighthouse Marina
•James Hardi Inc.
•The Home Depot Foundation
•Agnew Dock Services
•Pat Gray
•McCroy Construction
•Marine 360
•Spring Valley Heating and Air
•Carolina Signs Designs
•The Lake Murray Safety Consortium

Richland County Sheriff's Department
5623 Two Notch Road
Columbia, SC 29223

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 803-576-3000

Chris Cowan
Community Service Division

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