by Ardie Arvidson
The Florence County Sheriff’s Office hosted the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday night.
Sheriff Billy Barnes welcomed guests to the event by saying he hoped none of them ever needed their help, but the members of his office are good to know.
He said he was with the sheriff’s department for about 20 years prior to his recent return. Barnes was appointed interim sheriff by the governor when Sheriff Kenney Boone was suspended after being charged with crimes.
“I’ve been recycled,” Barnes said.
He said it is good for the community to get to know his team and to know they are real people just like them. Interacting with the community at Business After Hours helps people get to know them on a first-name basis, he said, and that is why it is important to host such events. He said the department wants people in the community to feel as though they can pick up the phone and call if they need help.
“It is building community relations,” Barnes said.