NEWBERRY COUNTY — David Beddingfield’s career has involved both military service and civilian law enforcement, something he has wanted to do since he was a child.
Beddingfield, 35, has been a member of the military for over 17 years.
Beddingfield’s military career started as a communication specialist in the Army National Guard. Later on he became a member of the 218th Heavy Separate Brigade at the Newberry Armory then joined the South Carolina Air National Guard, of which he is a current member as a military law enforcement officer.
During his time with the Guard he oversaw law enforcement operations, security operations, emergency dispatch, non-emergency dispatch, telecommunication dispatch and detention/confinement facility over-sight.
Beddingfield’s career in civilian law enforcement started when he was 19 and he went to work for the S.C. Department of Corrections as a correctional officer. He worked with the DOC for approximately five years and worked at several different institutions through out the state.
“My duties included supervising correctional staff, supervising inmates and ensuring that all of the laws pertaining to correctional custody of the inmates were being adhered to,” Beddingfield said.
During his time at the Department of Corrections, Beddingfield also attended school, saying that this position allowed him to work on his education while he worked full time for the prison system.
Beddingfield is a graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, the South Carolina Department of Corrections Training Academy, the USAF Security Forced Training Academy, the South Carolina Department of Corrections Supervisor Course, the USAF Combat Arms Training Academy and the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Executive Leadership Course.
He is also certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy as an instructor, and is certified by the USAF as a military firearms instructor.
Beddingfield also holds an associate’s degree in general studies from Piedmont Technical College, an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the Community College of the Air Force, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from American Military University and a master’s degree in criminology with a concentration in management form American Military University.
After leaving the Department of Corrections, Beddingfield went to work for the Columbia Police Department as a police officer.
“CPD is the capital police department. I know it is a very active police department, one of the best places you can go if you want to be a police officer to get top quality training and get the most experience,” he said.
After about a year, Beddingfield went to work for the S.C. Highway Patrol as a trooper but said he did not enjoy it and he missed Columbia. So he returned to the Columbia Police Department in 2008.
During his time with the Columbia Police Department there were allegations brought up against him involving excessive force.
“It was a bar fight essentially. There were some allegations brought up about excessive force and I knew I had done nothing wrong, and that was shown to the point where it was a complete exoneration, Internal Affairs or personnel standpoint, from all standpoints surrounding it. Complete clearing from any wrongdoing,” Beddingfield said. “Anytime someone makes allegations or asks about something negative, if voters demand the facts about anything said, then they will get answers to the questions.”
Beddingfield further stated that he holds a secret security clearance from the Department of Defence, and that would never be allowed to happen if there was anything regarding him, his credit, his past history or anything of that nature.
“I have probably been vetted more thoroughly than any other sheriff candidate in the state right now,” he said.
In 2015 Beddingfield became the police chief of the Prosperity Police Department.
Race for Sheriff
Beddingfield, a resident of the City of Newberry, is now running for the position of sheriff. He says he is running for the position because he does not like unopposed elections.
“That is something that bothers me. Elections are the only way that citizens can hold their elected officials accountable,” Beddingfield said. “I want to also advance the Sheriff’s Office. There are many ways I think I can make a positive difference. That is what I want to do, I want to progress the department as a whole.”
If elected, Beddingfield has a multitude of things he would like to do in his first term. This includes, but is not limited to, creating a civilian review board for all “use of force” incidents involving injury or weapons, ensuring that the department is offering education incentives for current deputies and new recruits, and enhancing community oriented policing measures.
He also wants to ensure that women and minorities are encouraged to apply for vacant positions; that the department has an active policy addressing any potential forms of nepotism; that organizational structure is streamlined in a manner that offers optimal service to the residents of Newberry County; that residents are treated fairly and impartially; that the department is offering a standardized measurable selection process for promotions and special unit assignments; and that the department is working diligently to stop youth crime while taking advantage of diversionary programs when deemed appropriate by the court.
“What they (voters) need to do is look at the current situation and ask themselves are they happy or not with the current operational duty at the Sheriff’s Office. If they want to see change, then I am offering several different platforms of things I will bring to the table,” he said. “Things that will absolutely happen if I am elected, they will happen within my first term. If those are things citizens value, if those are things voters want to see, then those are things that will be implemented if I am elected.
“Also, if elected, I have recognized that there is a major issue in Newberry County with several growing problems,” he added. “Even though we can quote statistical analysis about how statistics shows that crime is down or the solvable rate is high, the fact of the matter is there is an ever-growing drug problem in Newberry County. It is no secret, everybody knows it is there.”
He added that the drug problem is something he will address as sheriff, as well as traffic safety enforcement. He feels there are some things that the Sheriff’s Office can do to enhance its capabilities from a traffic safety and enforcement standpoint.
“There are a lot of advance certifications for law enforcement officers such as advance recognition, data master certification, even speed measured device certification can assist with traffic safety enforcement, those are some things I would implement at a much higher degree if I am elected as sheriff,” Beddingfield said
Bedding would also ask voters if they are happy with what they are seeing in Newberry County schools. He feels that the drug problem has infested local schools, and that it directly relates to the gang problem in Newberry County schools.
“And if those are things they want to see addressed, if elected as sheriff those things will be aggressively addressed within my first four years, and if not they can vote me out,” he said. “Fairness and equality for all the citizens of Newberry County, and that is what I want to do.”
As a sheriff in South Carolina, certain qualifications must be met, which includes, but not limited to, both education and experience. Beddingfield says he meets all the requirements for sheriff, and that he exceeds the requirements.
Beddingfield was born in Greenville to Betty and David Beddingfield Sr. He grew up in Clinton and graduated from Clinton High School in 2000. He is married to Michelle Beddingfield.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.