ACSO History

1993 – School Resource Deputies

ACSO Deputies ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff at four high schools and two middle schools in unincorporated Aiken County: Midland Valley High School, Ridge Spring-Monetta High School, Silver Bluff High School, Wagener-Salley High School, Leavelle McCampbell Middle School, Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School.

1993 – Public Information

ACSO became the first South Carolina law enforcement agency in the Central Savannah River Area with a dedicated public information staff. The Public Information/Special Projects Manager serves as the chief spokesperson and primary contact to the media and community concerning newsworthy ACSO activities. This individual is responsible for identifying and distributing information daily concerning these activities by news release, on-scene and telephone interviews and email.

1994 – Automated Fingerprint Identification System

AFIS enables law enforcement to conduct searches of suspect
fingerprints against a state-maintained database containing more than one million fingerprints. ACSO serves as the only identification section for law enforcement agencies in Aiken County. It also provides services to Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Edgefield, Greenwood, McCormick, Orangeburg and Saluda Counties.

1995 – Community Policing

ACSO operates community-oriented policing units in Beech Island. The program was implemented there at the request of its citizens. Partnered with the Aiken County Housing Authority, ACSO Deputies patrolled New Hope and Valley Homes in Graniteville from 1995 to 2000 on foot, bicycle and vehicle.

1995 – School Resource Officers to Myrtle Beach

For eight consecutive years, ACSO School Resource Deputies have helped ensure teenagers have a fun and safe time at Myrtle Beach. Deputies are a point of contact for young people at the beach, and in an emergency, a link to concerned parents at home. Prior to graduation, seniors are given a toll-free telephone number to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, which enables students to contact ACSO Deputies.ACSO was the first law enforcement agency to launch such a program in South Carolina.

1998 – New Building

In the spring of 1998, Aiken County completed the first new construction at ACSO in more than 20 years. The new building houses the Support Services Division, which consists of the Communications and Records sections.

1998 – DUI Task Force

Funded by a $147,797.00 grant from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, the objective of the D-U-I Task Force is to significantly reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related collisions in Aiken County. From October 1998 through September 2001, the three-member unit made more than 400 drunk and drugged driving arrests. Major public education initiatives of the DUI Task Force include the Cutaway Car and Impaired Driving Experience Golf Car.

1998 – Drug Enforcement Administration

Since 1998, ACSO has participated in a Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force investigating illegal drug activity. The task force consists of local law enforcement investigators, who hold federal authority to investigate criminal activity nationwide.

1999 – Communication Improvements

The cumbersome task of dispatching a police car, ambulance and fire truck in 1999 became as simple as point and click. ACSO dispatchers began using four state-of-the art workstations, which integrated radio, telephone and computer-aided dispatching functions. Another goal of the project was to improve radio coverage throughout the county. This was accomplished by installing antennas at three tower sites in North Augusta, Batesburg-Leesville and Williston.

ACSO Reserves

In November 2002, ACSO Reserves grew to an all-time high of more than 60 members. The ACSO Reserve Deputy Program offers community-minded men and women an opportunity to volunteer as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff. Selected individuals undergo 14 weeks of law enforcement training. Upon successful completion, individuals become certified law enforcement officers. ACSO Reserve Deputies must meet certain requirements to maintain their law enforcement certification: furnish own equipment, volunteer minimum of 20 hours per month, complete monthly training. The ACSO Reserve Deputy Program began in 1985.

1999 – ACSO Posse

The Posse is a group of dedicated volunteers, which helps ACSO provide a variety of services to the community. Members often are called upon to search areas near a crime scene for physical evidence or missing persons. The Posse offers fingerprinting for children at community events. Members teach hunter and boater education classes in conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Unarmed, uniformed members patrol neighborhoods to deter crime. Requirements and training for membership in the Posse include:

  • Successful completion of the 11-week Aiken County Citizen Academy
  • New members receive additional 40 hours of specialized training
  • Applicants must be at least 21-years-old, have no criminal history and be a resident of Aiken County.

1999 – Aiken County Citizen Academy

From patrol techniques, criminal investigations and community policing, to demonstrations by the ACSO High Risk Entry Team and Aiken Bloodhound Team, the eleven-week program, offered free-of-charge, familiarizes citizens with the operation of the agency. ACSO employees teach classes Monday nights from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Nearly 90 people have successfully completed the Aiken County Citizen Academy since its inception. The concept of the citizen academy originated in Great Britain, where the first “police night school” was held in 1977.

2000 – Live Scan

ACSO took delivery of a state-of-the-art automated booking management system, which enabled the user to electronically fingerprint an individual and transmit the data to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
The system will become operational once moved to the new Aiken County Detention Center.

2000 – State Accreditation

ACSO in December 2000 earned the distinction as a state accredited law enforcement agency, one shared by only six sheriff’s offices in South Carolina. SCLEA is an initiative of the South Carolina Police Chiefs’
Association and the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association. It is a voluntary program. The SCLEA standards, which parallel national standards, are designed to reflect the best professional practices in each area of law
enforcement management, administration, operations and support services.

2001 – Internet Crime Investigation

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, contributed to the arrest of a Texas man on federal child pornography charges. On July 10, the subject contacted an ACSO investigator, who posed as a 13-year-old girl, in an Internet chat room. The subject over the course of several weeks engaged in sexually explicit conversation and transmitted child pornography to the investigator. During these conversations, ACSO learned the subject was molesting a five-year-old Houston girl, which led investigators to contact the FBI to ensure the subject’s prompt arrest.

2002 – Geographic Crime Profiling

In January, two investigators attended two weeks of training in geographic analysis at the Southeastern Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, in Charleston. Representatives from the Aiken Department of Public Safety, Richmond and Columbia County Sheriff’s Offices also will attend. By entering data into a central computer, the agencies eventually will begin identifying crime trends in the Central Savannah River Area.

2002 – Regional Forensic Laboratory

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office Regional Forensic Laboratory will reduce from months to weeks to eventually days the length of time law enforcement officers must wait for the results of drug tests critical to their investigations. The laboratory will serve law enforcement agencies in Aiken and surrounding counties. Aided by a state-of-the-art Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer, an ACSO chemist can positively identify a variety of drugs, which include Marijuana, Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Opiates and Hallucinogens. The ACSO Regional Forensic Laboratory is funded by a three-year federal grant and matching monies from Aiken County Government totaling $384,160.