There are few things more troubling than seeing a law enforcement officer arrested for breaking the law.
Yet there also are few things more reassuring than knowing if a Columbia County cop breaks the law, then he’s no longer going to be a Columbia County cop.
That message rarely has been needed, but it always has been swiftly sent when a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputy crosses the line from law-enforcer to law-breaker. Last week was one of those times, as 41-year-old Kester Henry Dozier was fired and arrested for on charges of smuggling contraband to inmates at the county’s detention center and violating his oath of office.
If the charges against Dozier are true, it’s particularly disheartening: He’s a 21-year Army veteran who had just started a second career of service as a law enforcement officer. He’s accused of throwing all that away by sneaking food, books and a cell phone in to prisoners.
Cell phones are a huge problem for jails and prisons. Unlike wired jail phones that are monitored for misuse, cell phones can be used to harass victims or even to continue the operation of criminal enterprises while the “boss” is locked up. Authorities in South Carolina believe a cell phone was used several years ago in a gang-coordinated hit on a guard outside a prison; how’s that for scary?
“To say that we are disappointed is an understatement,” reads a release from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. “As we’ve demonstrated in the past, we enforce the law no matter who is involved, and Deputy Dozier’s actions were dealt with swiftly and justly.”
It’s worth repeating: The charges are troubling, but that swiftness of the sheriff’s action to resolve them are reassuring.