Home Columbia Press Releases 2009 Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement

Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 04, 2009
  • District of South Carolina (803) 929-3000

COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney W. Walter Wilkins’ Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee hosted the annual Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement Luncheon today at Fort Jackson Officers' Club, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. South Carolina Supreme Court Justice John W. Kittredge was the keynote speaker at the awards banquet.

The following South Carolina law enforcement officers received the 2009 awards:

  • City: Chief Dennis K. Tyndall, West Columbia Police Department
  • County: Sheriff James R. Metts, Lexington Co. Sheriff’s Department
  • Federal: Special Agent Michael E.Stansbury, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • State: Chief Investigator William D. Kadlowec, SC Dept. of Consumer Affairs

The Strom Thurmond Awards for Excellence in Law Enforcement were established by Senator Strom Thurmond in 1983 to recognize law enforcement officers whose performances demonstrate the highest ideals of excellence in professional law enforcement. An annual award is given in each of four categories: (1) City Officer; (2) County Officer; (3) State Officer; and (4) Federal Officer. An awards committee composed of representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Strom Thurmond Foundation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, along with a police chief and sheriff selected the recipients from nominations received from across the state.

In presenting the awards, United States Attorney W. Walter Wilkins stated, "It is an honor for me to recognize these four outstanding officers who represent their agencies with honor and distinction. Each of these gentlemen exemplify the best in law enforcement in South Carolina: integrity, character, hard work, and sacrifice. When Senator Thurmond created these awards in 1983, he envisioned that recipients would have the type of commitment that these four officers have exhibited throughout their careers.”

City Recipient

Chief Dennis K. Tyndall
West Columbia Police Department

Chief Dennis K. Tyndall began his law enforcement career at the Department of Corrections and became a West Columbia Police Officer in 1984. He worked his way up through the ranks to Chief of Police and graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1995. Since he became Chief, the department has been recognized as one of the best in the nation, particularly in the area of family violence reduction. He has initiated a mentoring project, pairing officers with at-risk-youth to curb juvenile violence. He has been proactive in recruit selection to insure the highest level of professionalism in his officers and has equipped them with the best in training and equipment. Agencies throughout the country have followed Chief Tyndall’s lead in technology, such as button cams and vid-mics for family violence prosecution, evidence collection kits for road officers, and mobile data terminals. His state of the art training room is a testament to his commitment to training. He embraces modern law enforcement techniques and equipment for enhancement of policing in his city. The West Columbia Police Department launched the Nixle program to keep the community informed at no cost to the city. Specialty teams expected in larger jurisdictions are a part of Chief  Tyndall’s approach to public safety.  He has initiated a SORT Team, Hazmat Team, Swiftwater Rescue Team, Crisis Negotiations Team, and Accident Reconstruction Team as well as an Honor Guard. Additionally, the index crime has reduced annually throughout the city since 2003.

Under Chief Tyndall’s leadership, the West Columbia Police has become a department of excellence. In 2007, the Department was awarded the Municipal Association’s Achievement Award  for innovation in dealing with Family Violence. In 2008, the Department was recognized as one of the Top Fifty Innovations in Government for the U.S. according to Harvard University. The Department was recognized as having one of the two model programs in the state in the Congressional Record of  2006. In 2007, the Department received the Santee Cooper Excellence in Law Enforcement Award from SCLEOA, and in 2008, SCLEOA awarded West Columbia Police Department with the Crime Prevention Award.

County Recipient

Sheriff James R. Metts
Lexington Co. Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff James R. Metts began his career in law enforcement as a dispatcher with the West Columbia Police Department in 1967. In 1972, he ran for sheriff and was the youngest sheriff ever elected in the nation. He took the oath of office as sheriff of Lexington County on December 15, 1972, when he was 26 and has served continually since that time

Sheriff Metts was the first sheriff in South Carolina to implement mandatory drug testing for all employees, mandatory psychological testing for all new hires, and defined educational requirements for all deputies. Additionally, he was one of the first sheriffs to seek qualified female and minority deputies in an effort to have his deputies fully represent the communities served by the Department. Sheriff Metts was the first sheriff in South Carolina to hire a victim’s advocate, school resource officers, implement an alcohol enforcement team, and  implement a traffic unit. Sheriff Metts eagerly embraces cutting edge technologies. His implementation of the Intel Team was followed by the largest reduction in crime in the department history. He was one of the first sheriffs to move to a 24/7 patrol coverage. He established patrol regions, created resident deputies, and added officers as the population grew. He implemented Community Oriented Policing and recognized the value of well-trained reserve officers. His goal has always been to reduce crime and response time.

Sheriff Metts earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master’s degree in criminal justice and a doctorate in education from the University of South Carolina. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, National Sheriff’s Institute, and National Corrections Academy. He is a graduate of the prestigious Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, an intensive three-week management seminar at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and was the first sheriff to graduate from the South Carolina Executive Institute. Sheriff Metts has established a reputation as an innovative law enforcement administrator and leader in the field of criminal justice, both in South Carolina and the nation.

Federal Recipient

Special Agent Michael E. Stansbury
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Special Agent Michael E. Stansbury began his law enforcement career in 1992 as a Police Officer with the Terrell, Texas Police Department. In 1996, he joined the Texas Department of  Public Safety and was assigned as a State Trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol in the Dallas District. In 1998, he graduated from Texas A&M University Commerce with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Special Agent Stansbury entered on duty with the FBI in March 2000 and transferred to Columbia, South Carolina, in June 2000. Since his entry on duty, he has indicted 478 subjects, disrupted criminal organizations 187 times, and dismantled 19 of those criminal organizations. Special Agent Stansbury has been the case agent in cases resulting in 23 federal life sentences. In 2009, he completed a seven-month Title III investigation involving wiretaps on 27 separate telephones, which resulted in the indictment of 116 people. Additionally, he has been a member of the Columbia Division SWAT team and a relief supervisor since 2002. Special Agent Stansbury was instrumental in the establishment of the Columbia Violent Gang Task Force in 2004, and he personally trained task force officers on FBI protocol for controlled purchases of guns and drugs and has participated in most of the controlled purchases made by the officers.

Special Agent Stansbury has been the affiant for at least 61 Title III wire intercepts in the District of South Carolina. The first Title III case he investigated became the largest and longest trial in the history of the Federal District Court in South Carolina.

Since joining the FBI, he received the Columbia Division’s Agent of the Year Award in 2003 and the District of South Carolina OCDETF case of the Year Award (four times). He was co-recipient of the 2007 National Project Safe Neighborhoods’ Award for Outstanding Gang Investigation for Investigation in the Gangsta Killer Bloods. Additionally, he received an OCDETF Lifetime Achievement Award for the District of South Carolina in 2008.

State Recipient

Chief Investigator William D. Kadlowec
S.C Department of Consumer Affairs

In 1977, William D. Kadlowec began working with the SC Department of Consumer Affairs and was commissioned as a law enforcement officer in 1985. Most of his career has been devoted to the pursuit of individuals engaged in illegal activity in connection with motor vehicles including crimes associated with odometer and title fraud. He is personally responsible for the investigation and ultimate prosecution of more than 200 odometer rollback cases in federal court, and because of the thoroughness of his investigations, every one of those cases resulted in a guilty plea rather than a trial. Mr. Kadlowec’s experience also includes investigating and prosecuting other types of crimes as well, including mail, wire, and bank fraud. Throughout his career he has provided assistance to  countless victimized consumers without having to resort to court action. One of the most personally rewarding cases Mr. Kadlowec has worked involved an employee who stole more than $440,000 from a public charity and used those funds to pay for a myriad of personal expenses. The defendant was sentenced to 27 months in jail and was ordered to pay restitution.

From 2005-2008, Mr. Kadlowec was instrumental in securing grants for the SC Department of Consumer Affairs from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These funds were used to fund odometer fraud enforcement and investigations primarily in South Carolina.

Mr. Kadlowec graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Business Administration in 1975. He became a commissioned law enforcement officer  in 1985 after attending the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. For the past 25 years, he has served on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Region for the National Odometer and Title Fraud Enforcement Association. Regarding Mr. Kadlowec as one of the best motor vehicle fraud investigators in the country, in 2002 the association honored him with the Lance Thomas Achievement Award, the organization’s highest recognition of character and integrity.