Sheriff posts signs reminding deputies to work safer, smarter after officer deaths

Sheriff Hunt signs

Sheriff Hunt wants his deputies to live by these phrases, because he says law enforcement has changed. (WRDW-TV / July 23, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, July 23, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- The flags at the Aiken County Sheriff's Office are at half-staff again, but this time, after the bloodshed in Colorado.

"People are unpredictable, and our officers face dangers today like they never have," said Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt.

After three local officer deaths in the past year, Hunt got an idea.

"We had three different signs made up and put around the station house, both here and at the jail," he said.

The first one reads "Complacency Kills."

"That's just another way to stress to our deputies, you know, the tiniest of calls, the most basic call, can go wrong," Hunt said.

That sign is just one of many that he's printed and posted. Sheriff Hunt wants his deputies to live by these phrases, because he says law enforcement has changed.

Another one reads "Watch Their Hands."

"A guy can't hurt you with the way he looks at you, but he can hurt you with his hands every time," Hunt said.

There's also one that reads "Every Call is a Gun Call."

"We want them to always think and that's just another way to make them think. Every call is a gun call," he said.

Finally, another signs claims "There's No Such Thing as a Routine Call."

"Could be a disturbance, could be a mailbox call, could be a suspicious vehicle call, which was the case with the last city policeman that lost her life," Hunt said.

But besides thinking tactically, Cpt. Troy Elwell with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office says deputies are also training more, too.

"We have range days a couple of days a month or so that the guys are encouraged to come out to shoot to make sure they're proficient with their weapon," he said after firing off a few rounds, too.

Hunt says he's noticed a difference since the signs went up. He says his officers carry themselves smarter and think tactically, but he says he's not letting the deaths of three officers turn his force into a new Gestapo. He says his officers are still polite, and they'll always be as polite as the citizens on a scene allow them to be.

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