To be eligible for the award, a sheriff must be nominated by a fellow sheriff. Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis proudly nominated Sheriff Koon, who he called a “professional, innovative, community-minded law enforcement officer.”
In nominating Koon, Lewis praised him for being proactive in identifying the unique needs of his community and quickly addressing them, particularly as it relates to gang activity and sexually violent predators. He went on to recognize Sheriff Koon for increasing community policing and strengthening relationships with key community stakeholders, especially within the Lexington County School Districts. Finally, Sheriff Lewis highlighted Sheriff Koon’s commitment to the law enforcement profession as he stresses the importance of inter-agency training and always makes himself available to other law enforcement leaders during delicate law enforcement situations.
Koon, who has more than 30 years of experience as a certified law enforcement officer, was sworn in as the 39th Sheriff of Lexington County on April 24, 2015. Prior to being elected as Sheriff of Lexington County, Koon enjoyed a 20-year career with the Town of Lexington Police Department where he served as detective, patrol sergeant, watch commander, special operations lieutenant, and assistant chief. Koon is a 2008 graduate of the FBI National Academy (Session 235) and a 2017 of the FBI National Executive Institute (Session 40). Jay is also an Eagle Scout who continues to work closely with Scouts today. Sheriff Koon is also the 2022 recipient of the prestigious Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement.
When Sheriff Koon took the helm of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, he knew he had to overcome several obstacles. Not only did he have to restore trust in the Sheriff’s Office, but he also had to reinforce a culture of integrity, accountability, and efficiency in his agency. Sheriff Koon immediately made transparency and communication a priority as he implemented several innovative ways to communicate with the citizens of Lexington County, especially through social media. He also implemented the agency’s body-worn camera program and became one of the first Sheriffs in the state to partner with the SC Department of Mental Health to start a Mobile Crisis Response Team.
Jay recognizes his greatest asset at the Sheriffs’ Office are his employees, both sworn and civilian. As such, Sheriff Koon made it a top priority to advocate for the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office for increased salaries and benefits. Through his leadership, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department employees have received meaningful pay increases and substantial bonuses because of their service and sacrifice throughout the pandemic.
The Sheriffs’ Association’s Sheriff of the Year Award will be presented to Sheriff Koon at the Association’s Annual Conference, which will be held in Myrtle Beach in July. In celebration of Sheriff Koon receiving this esteemed award, Moseley Architects, a longtime supporter of the SC Sheriffs’ Association, will present Sheriff Koon with a check for $1,000 for the Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation.
Todd Davis, a representative for Moseley Architects, said, “We are extremely proud of Sheriff Koon! He has worked tirelessly to protect and defend the citizens of Lexington County and restore faith and confidence in the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. Moseley Architects is proud to sponsor this award and issue our heartfelt congratulations to Sheriff Koon on a job well done!”