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Chester County Sheriff wins SC Sheriff of the Year

Sheriff Dorsey was nominated by five of his fellow sheriffs.
The 2022 South Carolina Sheriff of the Year is sought after by all 46 sheriffs in the state.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:35 PM EDT
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CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) -A coveted achievement in South Carolina was awarded Thursday to someone in our backyard.

The 2022 South Carolina Sheriff of the Year is sought after by all 46 sheriffs in the state. This year, Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey got the title. He took over the office in 2019 amid a scandal after the former sheriff, Alex Underwood, was suspended.

In a press release sent by the SC Sheriff’s Association, it says to be eligible for the award, a sheriff must be nominated by at least one of his fellow sheriffs. Sheriff Dorsey was nominated by five of his fellow sheriffs, including our current President and 2019 Sheriff of the Year, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile (2018 Sheriff of the Year), Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson (2017 Sheriff of the Year), Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis, and Union Sheriff County Jeff Bailey.

In nominating Dorsey, Tolson said, “The most important thing that Sheriff Dorsey has done for his community is to make people feel like someone in a position of power actually cares about what happens and will fight to protect them and their families.”

Most sheriffs work their whole lives to hold that title. For Dorsey, the position was thrust upon him.

”The governor called me and asked if I would serve as the interim and I agreed. It was scary. But I think what was mostly humbling is he took a chance on me,” said Dorsey.

Dorsey came onto the job without any sheriff experience, inheriting a department rocked by scandal, and a community that seemed to distrust the people signed up to protect them.

Some of the things outlined in the press release that Dorsey implemented were reorganizing the office to better respond to violent crime, upgrading body-worn camera systems, and instituting an “open door policy” for the community and sheriff’s office personnel alike.

It goes on to say he also built personal relationships with stakeholders across Chester County by hosting events such as Coffee with Cops and Cone with a Cop.

”This office was in a lot of turmoil. And thanks to the trust that the county council placed in me, in this community placed in me we’ve been able to overcome a lot of those hurdles,” he said.

Dorsey also said that trust did not come easy. It took time, patience, and effort from his whole team.

”Trust is not built just one time it’s not a one and done thing. So trust you got to wake up every day. And you got to work hard at how can I continue to build that trust. So whatever I decided to do, I was gonna have to do it every day,” he said.

He said the department built trust day-by-day with six ethical principles he put into place that every single worker had to abide by. He keeps those principles close by wearing them on his wrist. He answered this when asked if he felt the trust was back and he accomplished his goal:

”I feel like we’ve made significant strides in that. I will never say that we have achieved that because I will not rest on that. We will continue to better, harder, stronger and faster every day.”

That attitude earned him enough votes to win the South Carolina Sheriff of the Year award.

”Just to be associated with them is an honor,” he said. “But for them to recognize me as the Sheriff of the Year is humbling because of that.”

Dorsey said the same sheriffs he received votes from to get the award were the same people he leaned on when first starting the job. He said he never shies away from asking for help.

He has a special relationship with Faile in Lancaster and Tolson in York, two of the five sheriffs who nominated him. These are two sheriffs he worked closely with during the week-long manhunt for Tyler Terry. But, despite the win, he says, it is about the team.

”I’m the sheriff of the year because of them. There’s no way I can do this or having success if it weren’t for the men and women in this office,” he said.

The Sheriffs’ Association’s Sheriff of the Year Award will be presented to Sheriff Dorsey at the Association’s Annual Conference, which will be held in Myrtle Beach in July.

In celebration of Sheriff Dorsey receiving this esteemed award, Moseley Architects, a longtime supporter of the SC Sheriffs’ Association, will present Sheriff Dorsey with a check for $1,000 for the Foundation for the Chester County Sheriff’s Office.

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