Cottageville, SC — A South Carolina police chief says he has no intentions of firing an officer who was just indicted on two counts of arson.
“I don’t think at all honestly he set them. I think it’s heresay through the bush to be honest with you,” said Cottageville Police Chief Charles Long.
Despite the incredibly low rate of police officers actually receiving an indictment, Long says he will not fire 22-year-old Travis Balkom and will allow him to continue working the streets of Cottageville.
“I believe him one hundred percent. I will stand behind him one hundred percent.”
The two counts of arson are from February and March of 2009. Balkom is charged with setting fire to two homes in the Round O community of Colleton County.
Long says the only charge he found on Balkom’s background check was a driving under suspension charge which was dropped.
The fact that a man who was suspected of setting two fires was allowed to become a police officer is quite disturbing. However, even more disturbing is the fact that he was indicted on these charges and the police chief unapologetically says he’s won’t receive so much as a suspension during the proceedings.
When those who are tasked with “upholding the law” are charged with breaking that very law, and allowed to maintain their positions of authority, their might be a problem.
Balkom is facing 15 years in prison for unscrupulous acts that could have killed people. Now, when the citizens of Cottageville, SC, trustingly dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, it’s this suspected arsonist who will respond.