EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. – County leaders broke ground at site on Rabbit Trail Road back in late November, and construction will begin soon for Edgefield County’s new Law Enforcement Center.

“This project is certainly well worth it. We’re combining these functions all under one roof now,” said Sheriff Jody Rowland. “So, you’ll have all of Edgefield Sheriff’s Office, all of our evidence, all of our personnel, all of our training under one roof. Something we don’t have.”

The current law enforcement center was built in the late 1970’s, and is outdated.

“The planners in the 70’s just did not foresee the growth that Edgefield County has had,” Rowland said. “We have been on fire for the past 15 years, and the southern end of our county has grown just huge.”

Not enough storage, outgrown detention center, dilapidation, safety and security are some of the issues with the old building.

“Showers take all day, food process takes all day, changing of linens and jumpsuits takes all day, it’s quite a process when everything is manual,” he said. “In the new facility, we’ll have a tower that can see every cell block. Every door is electronic. It can be one person sitting at a control desk can control every door in that law enforcement center.”

Windows, heating and airing, and plumbing have also been ongoing issues.

Updates for all of this will be in the new center, and there will also be a Magistrate’s courtroom and an Animal Control Facility.

“We currently don’t have a courtroom. We’ve never had a Magistrate’s office courtroom, ever. That’s a big step for us,” Rowland said.

The new center will cost approximately 42 million dollars. 

18 million will come from the State from the Plutonium Settlement money at the Savannah River Site, and the rest will come from the Capital Project Sales Tax the county’s voters approved two years ago.

“We sold revenue bonds to get up-front money to pay for the constriction of the law enforcement facility along with the 18 million,” said David Caddell, the Edgefield County Administrator. “But, then we have to pay those bond holders, those who bought the bonds, back. They will be paid back through the capital sales tax.”

Caddell said many people are looking forward to the new law enforcement center.

“It is widely supported,” he said. “And we’ve had a great deal of support for it. The need is obvious, this facility is very old, it’s small, we’ve outgrown it, so we’ve had great community support.”

The center is expected to be ready in 18 to 24 months, and will be designed to accommodate the growing community for many years to come.