PICKENS – In the main courtroom of the Pickens County Courthouse, Sheriff David Stone received the 2012 Billy Wilkins Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement.
The award was first given in 1984 to former Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor, Billy Wilkins, and was designed to honor individual law enforcement officers who have displayed outstanding qualities in the execution of their duties in the field and in the courtroom.
“We appoint a committee to look at various applicants, we also send out requests for nominations to all of the heads of law enforcement in Pickens and Greenville County and we receive nominations from those heads, and from those nominations, a committee gets together and chooses the recipient,” said Walter Wilkins, solicitor of the thirteenth judicial circuit. “This year for Pickens County it was very easy. Because who was more dedicated than our sheriff, somebody who has given 44 years of their life to law enforcement and protecting Pickens County, just a true public servant? It is such an honor to honor him today.”
The award ceremony began with Billy Wilkins introducing Sheriff Stone.
“He is the second longest serving sheriff in the United States, so I am very happy to be here today. He was named Sheriff of the Year in 1975, and in 1981, he served as the President of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association. He served on the board for 25 years, and he is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and received the Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement,” Wilkins said.
Sheriff Stone was then introduced to the applause of visitors, guests, and family members attending the ceremony.
“It’s just hard to believe that 44 years have gone by like it has and the changes we have all seen. We started out getting the bootleggers, but the bootleggers are not anything to what we have this day and time with the drugs. It’s been a great pleasure for me representing Pickens County as the sheriff,” Stone said. “I have enjoyed law enforcement for the 44 years, and I know that Pickens County is going to go forward. Anytime that I can help, I’ll be here.”
During his acceptance speech, Stone expressed his endorsement of Tim Morgan saying that he would make a good sheriff. He also thanked his family and had his granddaughter come stand with him at the podium
Following the completion of his 11th term, David Stone will no longer be Sheriff of Pickens County. Stone lost a nomination to be the Republican candidate for sheriff in Tuesday’s General Election.
“It’s been a great career and I don’t have any regrets. I know it’s hard to go out, but it’s time to go,” Stone said.
Master Deputy Tony Lee was the recipient of the award for Greenville County.