Mayor Stephen J. Wukela Statement On Shooting

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Florence Mayor Press Conference

Last night I was informed of an incident involving a State Constable who was accompanying a City Police Officer on his shift. As noted in the statement below, a State Constable discharged his firearm striking the driver of a vehicle. State Constables are appointed by the Governor and often work on a volunteer basis with law enforcement agencies throughout the state. The Department, in partnership with S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED), also authorizes State Constables to ride-a-long with on-duty police officers to assist them in maintaining their state certification.

The information below is a summary of what occurred. No City officers discharged their firearm, and no City officers are under investigation. We will fully cooperate with SLED as they move forward in their findings of fact. At this time, SLED will serve as the lead for additional statements and information. At approximately 11:10 PM last night (Saturday) a State Constable, who was on a traffic stop with a Florence Police Department officer, discharged his firearm striking the driver of the vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to a local hospital and admitted for treatment. Chief Heidler contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to have them conduct a full investigation into the incident and they responded to the scene. No officers of the Florence Police Department are under a SLED investigation.

Class I South Carolina State Constables are unpaid law enforcement volunteers who are regulated by SLED and meet the same law enforcement training certification standards as a full time Class I police officer. The Class I constable involved in last night’s incident, has worked periodically with the Florence Police Department for the past four years.

Any further questions regarding this incident will need to be directed to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. As the Mayor of the City of Florence, I want to assure the public that I am satisfied that the City of Florence police officers performed their jobs properly and I am confident that SLED will investigate fully and fairly.

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