ALLENDALE, S.C. (WJBF) – Some people have expressed concerns about crime in Allendale The police chief resigned, leaving the department understaffed. Some fear the agency will be no more but leaders say that’s not the case.

As Renardo Smoak sits on his family’s porch in Allendale, he reflects on a simpler time. “You saw all the kids going down the road they’re going across the railroad track, they were all going to the baseball field,” he told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk. Now the community he once knew, he says, is no more. “Pretty much at this point in time, it’s not really uncommon to hear about shootings in Allendale,” he shared.

Residents like Smoak say crime is in the crosshairs of the community. Police Chief John Sullivan resigned from the department recently, leaving only two officers on the force. One is certified and the other one is not. The sheriff’s office has less than a dozen. “The sheriff’s office staffing at one time was up to about 14 people,” Allendale County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charles Roswell said.

Shawn asked, “So maybe you guys need 14 more people now?” “We could keep ’em busy. We could keep ’em on the move. A lot to do, a lot going on.”

Allendale P.D. will respond to calls first. The Sheriff’s Office, SLED, highway patrol, DNR, and others will provide backup. “What we’re doing basically is rotating manpower in and out through the town, covering the town during — while the town is short on police officers right now,” Roswell added. “All these state agencies are helping out coming in covering eight-to-12-hour shifts, along with our people. We don’t put too much one entity or anything like that, but kind of taking turns so to speak,” he added. While calls may increase, the sheriff’s office is not taking over. “This isn’t the first time the sheriff’s office has stepped up and helped the town out,” Roswell added.

It’s still unclear when a new chief will be selected, but for now, people who live here know what they want in the next top cop. “It’s gonna take a good one to come down here and to understand the community a little bit and work with the community,” Benjamin Agams said. “At times the police officers need to be a little more concerned with talking to the people in the community,” he added.

Meanwhile, there will be two public community meetings for candidates running in the upcoming elections. Residents can come out, listen, share opinions, and get input on how to move “Allendale Forward”

The dates are May 26 and June 2. Both events will start at 6 p.m. at the James Brandt Building on Old Barnwell Road.