Chief Watson on Police Department break-in: They came in our house and took our stuff

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

In an emergency city council meeting Monday July 3, Darlington Police Chief Danny Watson announced that the Darlington Police Department had been broken into and several pieces of equipment had been stolen.

“Over the weekend persons, or a person, unknown at this particular point in time, removed multiple pieces of equipment from the Darlington Police Department,” Watson said. “Once we have all the information that we need available to us from the investigating agencies, that being the Darlington Police Department and State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), once these items are identified and potentially recovered, we will release such information as is pertinent to the case.”
Watson said that SLED and DPD were investigating the incident in a joint operation.

Upgrades in security are being done though they are made more difficult by the age and the construction of the department’s building.

“This building is a 1963 building,” Waton said. “It was originally designed to have people occupy this building at all times. As times have changed that is no longer the case. We have had to try and adopt newer security measures over time. Unfortunately, a lot of the security measures that we would like to put into place just haven’t come into fruition yet but we are working toward that.”

Plans were already in place for upgrades, Watson said, and those plans will continue along with the changes being made immediately.

“The city’s general obligation bond, which was passed in November 2016, was slated to cover part of the security upgrades for the department itself, as well as City Hall in general,” Watson said. “Additional cameras are being added to the cameras that we already have in place, on the outside and inside, which will hopefully prevent any kind of activity such as this to take place in the future. Like I said, because of the age of the building that we currently occupy and its construction, it’s going to be a difficult process.”

Watson was obviously impacted by the break-in and spoke on a personal note during his announcement.

“It is upsetting and sobering to realize that even public buildings like ours are vulnerable to attack,” Watson said. “I’ve worked many, many burglaries over the years and I‘ve never had that feeling because I’ve never been burglarized myself but today I had that feeling. Someone came into my house and they took our stuff. These are items that we use to help protect the citizens of Darlington and it is very upsetting. However, it is our stalwart and continuing commitment to do everything possible to find out whoever these person or persons are and bring them to justice.”

Specifics on what was stolen have not release. Watson said he hopes not releasing that information immediately will help them find a suspect more quickly because only those with knowledge of the case, law enforcement and those who perpetrated the crime, will have those specifics.

Law enforcement agencies in surrounding counties and cities, along with SLED, have been contacted so that can also be on the lookout for any possible leads or suspects.

“(We are getting) the information out on this so hopefully we can try and find out who these person or persons are so that we can put them where they need to be, which is jail,” Watson said.

Author: Duane Childers

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