Some of you may be aware that I was the Deputy Town Marshal for McClellanville. I was deputized shortly after moving back here after being a police officer in Rock Hill for 4 years, because I was the most experiences person for the job. After over a year of faithful service I decided that I didn’t have the time to devote to the job that it required and asked the Town to find a replacement. This week I handed over this position to Barron Duke, who many of you may already know as the man who picks up the trash.
Larry McClellan remains McClellanville’s Town Marshal, the Deputy position falls under him and performs the duty of enforcing the parking around town and launching (with a launch permit) at the boating landing. There is also the occasional wild animal call or barking dog problem. Compared to my previous law enforcement duties the job was pretty simple.
What is a Town Marshal?
This is not the same as the U.S. Marshal (like the Tommy Lee Jones movie) that are in charge of escorting and capturing federal prisoners. The Town Marshal position isn’t very common, because most larger towns have their own police department and unincorporated areas and smaller towns fall under the a particular counties Sheriff’s Office, as does McClellanville. However, McClellanville is at the edge of Charleston County and in all my years growing up here I probably saw 3 Sheriff’s Deputies on routine patrol. You’ll see them quite regularly now, but I think the town has held onto the Marshal position in an effort to relieve the Sheriff’s Office of some of the more mundane work and as a service to the town members. People don’t like the image given off by a police car in their front yard when they have a little problem with a neighbors barking dog and also don’t feel comfortable discussing their problems with a stranger. The Town Marshal often acts as a more comfortable (no badge, no uniform, no cruiser) and usually familiar, third-party, mediator when problems occur between neighbors.
I personally think the position is a little confusing, because the general public doesn’t know the difference between a violation of a town ordinance and state law. I think some guidance from the town is necessary to clear up this ambiguity, but I will tell you that if you are in doubt than you should call the Sheriff’s Office or dial 911 if it is an emergency. The Town Marshal does not go around locking people up. He usually doesn’t investigate drug cases, assaults, or stolen property… luckily we don’t have too much of this stuff to worry about anyway. The Marshals position is strictly limited to the enforcement of town ordinances. These things include such incidences as vicious animals, nuisances (including barking dogs), parking violations, etc.
On a personal note, I’ve met several of the Charleston County Sheriffs Deputies that patrol these parts and trained with several of the ones that work in other parts of the county and find them to be professional, courteous, and caring about the needs of the area. If you should ever need their services, don’t hesitate to call (the non-emergency line is 843–202–1700) and ask for a Deputy to come speak with you.