Tanner named state's Sheriff of the Year

For the first time in 40 years, a Beaufort County Sheriff was recognized as the state's top lawman by the S.C. Sheriff's Association.

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner was named Sheriff of the Year at the annual meeting of the state's 46 sheriffs last week in Myrtle Beach.

L.W. Wallace was the last Beaufort County sheriff to get the award, his in 1969.

"It's very exciting to be on that list of sheriffs to win this award," said Tanner, who was nominated for the honor by Jasper County Sheriff Gregory Jenkins. "The award is really a testament to the work that the men and women of the Sheriff's Office do. ... My staff makes me look good."Jenkins has knownTanner for more than a decade and said his colleague's professionalismmade his nomination a no-brainer.

"He's a model sheriff," Jenkins said. "He's the kind of law enforcement officer that all sheriffs should aspire to be like. To have been able to get to know him over the years and observe the way he conducts himself and his department has been an honor and a pleasure."

Tanner took office in January 1999 and has since introduced a number of programs and law enforcement teams at the Sheriff's Office, including the Citizen's Police Academy, the SWAT team, a K-9 tracking team, search and rescue dive team and a newly certified bomb squad.

Gary Kubic, Beaufort County administrator, said Tanner's award is not only a feather in the cap of the Sheriff's Office but benefits the county's reputation.

"We have one million guests come to our county every year, and one of the reasons they come down here -- apart from the water and the beauty -- is that they feel safe and they know that Sheriff Tanner is very vigilant in making sure that's the case," Kubic said.