York County & York County Sheriff’s Office - In 1768 York County became part of Tryon County, North Carolina and remained that way until 1772 when the boundary dispute between the two Carolinas was resolved. At that time, this area became part of the “New Acquisition” of South Carolina and was finally organized as York County, South Carolina in 1785. The first sheriff of York County was James Hawthorne. He came to South Carolina as an Irish immigrant with his parents and first settled in the Camden District.
York County is located in the northernmost part of South Carolina, bordering North Carolina. York County consists of more than 225,000 people (2010-Census) and covers 696 square miles, of which 7 square miles is that of Lake Wylie.
In 1786, the court’s record book referred to as “Minute Book A” denotes that the April term of court instructed that three individuals be appointed as “Commissioners” to erect a courthouse for York County.
The first sheriff elected, Colonel James Hawthorne was born in Armagh County, Ireland around 1750. He was unanimously elected sheriff in 1785. He was elected sheriff on the same date that the newly named clerk of court, John McCaw, was elected. Sheriff Hawthorne was given a bond in the sum of 1,500 pounds for the faithful performance of his duties. The sheriff was given order by the court that whatever the sheriff was proper to confine prisoners, shall be the accounted a lawful goal until further order could the established. Sheriff Hawthorne was the sheriff of York County, from 1786-1788.
In 1820, the county needed a jailhouse to house prisoners due to the sheriff receiving power to the house and confine prisoners. In 1934, the new jailhouse was built at the corner of Congress and Liberty St., York, SC.
Around the 1900’s legislation was passed to disallow capital punishment would no longer be carried out by the sheriff’s but conducted by the state penitentiary in Columbia, SC. The last execution by hanging was conducted by Sheriff Hugh Brown in May of 1909
By 1918, York County had created what is called the first rural police force consisting of three police officers, one each from York, Rock Hill, and Clover.
In 1933, Sheriff Moss was elected sheriff. Sheriff Moss was instrumental in bringing new technology to the Officer, such as fingerprinting and information collection. Sheriff Moss created detailed criminal records, including the photographs of prisoners, including photographs of crime scenes and collision scenes. Sheriff Moss died in Office in 1959.
Sheriff Noe was promoted to the position of sheriff after Sheriff Moss’ death. Sheriff Noe would remain in Office until 1966. Sheriff Sutton was elected and would serve for 14 years, before losing the election to Sheriff Pope in 1980. With the conclusion of Sheriff’s Noe’s tenure and Sheriff Pope, being elected, cited the first time in the history of the sheriff’s office, that an incumbent sheriff lost the election.
In 1991, the sheriff’s office would create its own Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit.
In 1996, Sheriff Bryant was elected sheriff. Under the direction and leadership of Sheriff Bryant, the Office has grown exponentially.
The sheriff’s office currently has various specialized units, some of which include the Office of Professional Standards, a lake enforcement/dive team, a school resource officer unit, just to name a few.
In 2001, under the leadership of then Bruce Bryant the YCSO led the effort to establish a county-wide Crime Stoppers program; the program continues to be one of the most active Crime Stoppers programs in South Carolina
In 2004, the sheriff’s office became accredited through the State of South Carolina (SCPAC). In 2005, Sheriff Bryant made the decision to take the next step in accreditation by seeking national accreditation. The Office was awarded initial accreditation through CALEA in 2008, with subsequent years of seeking re-accreditation in 2011 and 2014.
In 2009, the County Council voted to have a separate Public Safety Communications Office. The Public Safety Communications Office was created and became accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
Since 2009 the L3 video & audio system had been installed in all YCSO patrol cars. Prior to the L3 digital system, patrol cars were equipped with analog VHS camera recording systems.
In 2016 the York County Sheriff’s Office began the process of purchasing body-worn digital cameras. In 2017 the York County Sheriff’s office implemented and distributed body worn camera system to Deputies in accordance with South Carolina State law passed in June 2015. ,
Sheriff Tolson was elected sheriff of York County in 2016 and began serving as Sheriff of York County in January of 2017, becoming the 34th Sheriff of York County.
In 2017 Patrol Cars are installed with an e-ticket system.
In 2018 Sheriff Tolson implemented a new Career Advancement Program or CAP, replacing the former Master Deputy Program. Establishing a fair and objective promotional process and career progression for the employees of the York County Sheriff’s Office and to ensure that vacancies are filled by fully qualified employees.
York County Government - York County offers a professionally managed government. A seven-member County Council is the governing body. Their responsibilities include adopting the County budget, setting the County property tax rate and determining the goals and objectives to provide efficient services to citizens. Daily operations are directed by the County Manager, who is appointed by the Council. The current County Manager is Mr. William “Bill” Shanahan. www.yorkcountygov.com