2017-01-06 / Front Page

Sheriff Leon Lott celebrates 20 years as Sheriff of Richland County

Contributed by Lieutenant Curtis Wilson Richland County Sheriff ’s Department Public Information Officer & Community Liaison

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott took the Oath of Office Tuesday, January 3, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Central Baptist Church, 3625 Clement Road, 29203. The sheriff extended an invitation for the community to share the momentous occasion as he celebrated 20 years as the Sheriff of Richland County. The sheriff felt it was important to have those in attendance who supported and trusted him through the years to serve and make Richland County a better place to live.

Sheriff Leon Lott has been on the forefront of community policing in the 21st Century and has a keen sense of knowing what needs to be done to accomplish this mission. He has created and implemented programs and projects that have proven successful and set standards nationally and internationally.

The sheriff’s beliefs on 21st Century Policing are we will do what is ethically and morally right, no matter how unpopular that decision may be. The sheriff has stood on this for the last 20 years as a department and as a law enforcement officer for the past 40 years. It has and will always be the correct way to handle everything.

The sheriff stated it was important for him to build a department built on expanding the community trust, accountability, integrity, and good solid leadership. One of the many important projects the sheriff has implemented is the Citizens Advisory Council, created to hold the Richland County Sheriff’s Department accountable for its actions, to ensure the decisions are ethical, legitimate, and fair. Lott states that there’s still work to be done to accomplish strategic objectives and challenges and assures the citizens of Richland County that every effort will be put forth to meet the goals of the department.

Lott was first sworn into office in January of 1997; Tuesday’s Oath of Office Ceremony marked Sheriff Leon Lott’s 20th year of service as the Sheriff of Richland County.

Lott was born in Aiken, S.C. He is married and the father of four daughters. He is a member of First Baptist Church, Columbia.

Lott earned associate and bachelor degrees in sociology at the University of South Carolina. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; a graduate of the FBI Academy; a graduate of the Riley Institute at Furman University Diversity Leadership Academy; and he is a Brigadier General – Deputy Commander – Special Operations Command in South Carolina State Guard.

Sheriff Leon Lott

• Joined the Richland County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy sheriff in the Uniform Division on 6/14/75.

• Appointed Chief of Police of St. Matthews, S.C., in July 1993.

• Elected Sheriff of Richland County on November 5, 1996, and was sworn into office on January 7, 1997.


2015 – Person of the Year – Palmetto Capital City Classic

2015 – Colonel Ordie P. Taylor Humanitarian of the Year Award

2015 – SCLEOA Past President’s Award

2015 – First Responder of the Year – Benedict College Athletic Department

2015 – SC State Guard – Brigadier General – Deputy Commander – Special Operations Command

2014 – Honorary Defense Force Commander - 169th Security Forces Squadron

2013 – Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award - ESGR

2012 – DEA / DARE America Law Enforcement Executive of the Year

2012 – Human Rights Presidential Citation, SC NAACP

2011 – Local Government Official of the Year, SC Recreation and Parks Association

2011 – Richard Allen Award, Allen University

2010 – Columbia Chamber of Commerce Military Advocate Award

2010 – New Ebenezer Baptist Church Outstanding Public Service Award

2010 – Horatio Gates Honorary Medal

2007 – Order of the Palmetto, State of South Carolina

2006 – President of the SC Law Enforcement Officers’ Association (SCLEOA)

2006 – Community Service Award – Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce

2005 – Sheriff of the Year 2004 – South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association

2005 – Strom Thurmond Award of Excellence in Law Enforcement

2004 – South Carolina’s Toughest Cop

2004 – SC Vocational Rehabilitation Association – “Citation for Individual Contributions” (accessibility rights for people with disabilities)

2002 – Palmetto Pride (SC Governor’s Beautification and Litter Control Program) – “Outstanding Leadership in Litter Enforcement”

2002 – SC Victim Assistance Network – “Silver Scales of Justice”

2001 – Indian Waters Council – Boy Scouts of America – “Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award”

2001 – MLK, Jr. “Drum Major for Justice Award” (enhancing the quality of law enforcement and equal opportunity)

2000 – SC Association of School Resource Officers Association of Crime Prevention Officers – “President’s Award” and Administrator of the Year”

2000 – Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce “ATHENA Award”

1989 – SC Law Enforcement Officers’ Association – “Officer of the Year”

1986 – Jaycees – “Young Officer

Return to top