Sheriff Hunt speaks on retiring chief deputy, new leadership

News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- "The time comes when the old have to move on to make way for the new, for the young," says Chief Deputy Dwayne Courtney of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

After 10 years at the there and 20 at the Aiken Department of Public Safety, Chief Deputy Courtney will do just that.

"It's been a long career, it's been a challenging career," he says. "But it's been, I think, the absolute most rewarding thing that a person can do."

Courtney found his love of public safety at just 14 years old as a volunteer at a fire station. After serving as an MP in the U.S. Army, he joined Aiken Public Safety under legendary Chief Carrol Busbee.

"You know, I can hear Carrol Busbee to this day. 'Shug, bump it up in to neutral!' And I always knew what he meant," says Courtney, explaining that he, as a young officer, would sometimes get a little worked up.

He made it to the rank as Captain there until newly elected Sheriff Michael Hunt made him his Chief Deputy in 2003.

"Dwayne's somebody that's got a lot of experience but will not tell you what you want to hear," says Sheriff Hunt.

Sheriff Hunt and Chief Deputy Courtney say the leadership change will allow the department to grow. They've recently announced that Captain Troy Elwell will fill Courtney's shoes, and Elwell tells News 12 they'll be big shoes to fill.

"He's young, energetic, very forward-thinking, he's been the face of the agency now for several years," says Courtney of Elwell.

Elwell says he'll take a very hands-on approach and inject in more community policing too.

But the question is already popping up. As the sheriff grows older, could this new, younger leadership run for sheriff one day?

"You always want to, as a CEO, develop folks for the future, because the fact is, nobody will be here forever, so you want to look down the line," says Hunt. "But I don't have any plans of quitting yet."

Courtney says he'll miss the people the most, and he'll miss his influence on the men and women there. However, his new job won't take him far away. He'll still be in the area, and he adds that he'll still be just a phone call away.

"He's been a great mentor," says Aiken Department of Public Safety Director Charles Barranco, adding that even as director, he still calls on Courtney for advice.

His last day is April 25.

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