Sheriff Kevin Tolson recognizes his staff earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of the York County Sheriff's Office Facebook page)

The South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association has named Sheriff Kevin Tolson of York County as 2019 Sheriff of the Year.

Sheriff Tolson was nominated by the current Sheriff of the Year, Sheriff Barry Faile of Lancaster County, the 2017 Sheriff of the Year, Sheriff Phillip Thompson of Horry County, and Sheriff Ray Watson of Abbeville County.

In nominating Tolson, Thompson said, “Since elected, Sheriff Tolson has been an advocate for the Sheriffs’ Association and works tirelessly to promote the Association in a positive light across the state. Sheriff Tolson’s life and career has centered on serving others and is certainly worthy of recognition as Sheriff of the Year.”

York County
Sheriff Kevin Tolson

Tolson, a nearly 27-year law enforcement veteran who is currently in his first term as Sheriff of York County, was praised by his peers for successfully implementing several progressive initiatives in the Sheriffs’ Office. During his tenure, Sheriff Tolson and his staff have established a new Career Advancement Program for YCSO deputies, launched a Leadership Development Program at the York County Detention Center, negotiated the transition of budget responsibilities from York County Government to the York County Sheriff’s Office, and developed an Awards Committee and Annual Awards Banquet.

Tolson has also initiated a partnership with the SC Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS), the 16th Judicial Circuit Solicitor, Keystone, and other law enforcement agencies to create a pilot Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) program to help address the opioid epidemic. Additionally, all York County Sheriff’s Office sworn staff received NARCAN Training and doses to administer during opioid overdoses. As a result, the York County Sheriff’s Office received an award during the 2018 SC Governor’s Opioid Summit for 30 lives saved.

Sheriff Tolson has also garnered high praise from fellow Sheriffs and community leaders for the manner in which he and his agency responded to one of the largest officer-involved shootings in South Carolina’s history.

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In January of 2018, the York County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic violence call that quickly escalated to a three-hour manhunt and an ensuing gun battle causing four officers to be wounded. Sadly, York County Sheriff’s Deputy, Detective Micheal Doty, was killed in the line of duty as a result of this event.

In nominating Sheriff Tolson for this award, Sheriff Phillip Thompson said, “Both during this tragic event and in the aftermath that followed, Sheriff Tolson has displayed exceptional devotion and compassion to the family of Detective Doty, the injured officers, the families of the injured officers, and York County Sheriff’s Office staff all while coping with his own pain and grief. His devotion to these officers and their families continues to this day and is an inspiration to us all.”

Aside from law enforcement Sheriff Tolson is involved with many community organizations. Tolson is a Board Member with the York County United Way, serving on various committees including Campaign Chair in 2014 and 2015. Tolson is also a graduate of Leadership York County (LYCO), and has served on the planning council since 1997, acting as council chairperson, as well as alumni reunion chair.

Tolson also served on the Hunter Street Elementary School Improvement Council and is an Ambassador for an organization named,  “#1 Question – is it good for the children”. Sheriff Tolson is also a Board Member for Keystone Substance Abuse Services.

The Sheriffs’ Association’s Sheriff of the Year Award will be presented to Sheriff Tolson at the Association’s Annual Conference, which will be held in Myrtle Beach in July. In celebration of Sheriff Tolson receiving this esteemed award, Moseley Architects, a longtime supporter of the SC Sheriffs’ Association, will present Sheriff Tolson with a check for $1,000 for the Sheriff’s Foundation of York County.

Greg "Ricky Bobby" Rickabaugh has lived in the Fort Mill and York County community since 2006. He has covered the area while a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and a freelance writer for The Fort Mill...