Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


Field of candidates seeking Charleston County Sheriff seat grows

Sheriff Badge

Photo: NoahBryant / iStock / Getty Images

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Two more candidates have joined the growing field of candidates looking to become the next Charleston County sheriff.

Former Charleston County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Alan Ali and North Charleston Police Captain of Special Operations Rick Keys join Folly Beach Deputy Chief Rocky Burke and former Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie incumbent Sheriff Kristin Graziano for the seat.

Ali has been in law enforcement for 30 years, and has held many positions including patrol, SWAT team, internal affairs and worked for the United States Marshals Service.

He, at one point, contemplated running for Dorchester County Sheriff but decided to run in Charleston County where he says he now resides.

He retired from his position at the Sheriff’s Office last week to run.

“The community wants to be protected and respected,” he said. “I’ve heard your personal stories. I understand your personal stories and it’s about time that the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office fully addresses their cares and concerns.”

Ali is critical of the current administration and wants to fix issues with a top-down approach with community first in mind.

“The sheriff’s office by and large is being over-managed and underlead,” Ali said. “When there’s not enough accountability and transparency and this thing keeps on going, it festers and the community suffers.”

He also stated he would handle the recent termination of a former deputy for an assault caught on camera if in the position of sheriff.

“I back the blue But what I don’t back are rogue officers making the public black and blue. That’s public unacceptable,” Ali said. “As a sheriff, I own that. That’s my fault. I own that. I’m the leader. We got to do better.”

Meanwhile, Keys began his career 39 years ago in fire and EMS. After a brief time in law enforcement in Tennessee, he moved to North Charleston where he worked his way up through the department.

Outgoing Mayor Keith Summey has endorsed him.

“I felt that this is God’s calling for me,” Keys said. “I’m gonna put my name in the hat and hopefully the voters will see that I can change things because I’m still out here doing the job.”

Keys says understaffing is creating a safety issue and that’s his number one focus, if elected as Sheriff.

“If you don’t have the people to do the job. It’s hard to do the job and citizens are tired of hearing ‘we don’t have the manpower,’” he said.

He also wants a deputy placed at every school.

“I truly believe that in the world we’re living in today to make parents feel comfortable that their kids going to a school at least there’s a police officer there or a deputy that can make a difference if something should happen,” he said.

Sheriff Graziano declined to comment about any specific criticisms, but in a statement said she is looking forward to the election.

The official filing deadline is next March. The election will take place in Nov. 2024.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved

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