Top chiefs meet at RCSD headquarters

Discussions range from family to recruiting to fitness

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott welcomed Brig. General Jason E. Kelly, U.S. Army, to Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) headquarters in Columbia for an informal meeting between the two senior chiefs, Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Among the discussion particulars were Lott’s and Kelly’s children; recruiting for RCSD and the Army; and physical fitness, including both Lott’s and Kelly’s commitment to physical fitness and the importance of physical conditioning as a way of life for both deputies and newly minted soldiers.

Kelly, the 53rd commanding general of Fort Jackson, the Army’s largest basic training facility in the nation, assumed command of the historic military post in late August. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department has a long mutually supportive history with Fort Jackson which was established in 1917 during America’s mobilization for World War I.

Today, deputies – primarily Special Response Team (tactical) officers – regularly conduct special operations training at ranges on Fort Jackson where RCSD has hosted other law enforcement agencies and led in facilitating training along with special agents from the FBI’s regional SWAT teams.

RCSD also works closely with the Fort Jackson provost marshal’s office (military police) during operational evolutions in which jurisdictional responsibilities overlap both agencies. And as president of the Association of the U.S. Army’s (AUSA) Fort Jackson-Palmetto State chapter, Lott is regularly holding AUSA meetings on post attended by Army officials and representatives of Columbia-area military veterans organizations.

In addition to serving as sheriff of Richland County, Lott holds the rank of brigadier general in the S.C. State Guard (SCSG), one of several elements within the S.C. Military Department which includes the S.C. Army National Guard, the S.C. Air National Guard, SCSG, and the S.C. Emergency Management Division.

During cataclysmic weather events like “the thousand-year flood” of 2015, both RCSD and the SCSG have worked in close coordination with Fort Jackson and the various Army units based there.

Brig. Gen. Kelly most recently served as commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division, headquartered in Atlanta.

– Pictured are Sheriff Leon Lott and Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly.

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