By Paul Gable
As a young boy, Jerry Merrithew would accompany his grandfather to the state park at which his grandfather was superintendent.
“I met many different law enforcement officers and I would sit with them and listen to them talk of their experiences,” said Merrithew. “I gained a lot of respect for the work they did and decided I would like to pursue a law enforcement career.”
After graduating from Berkeley High School in 1980, Merrithew bided his time until he secured his first law enforcement position with the Harleyville Police Department in 1985.
Merrithew then moved to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office and was selected for a detective-corporal position, and served in that position until receiving an offer with the Goose Creek Police Department.
“They offered me a significant raise in pay, which was important as I was a young father at the time,” said Merrithew. “I stayed with Goose Creek for approximately 10 years until the sheriff offered me a position to come back to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.”
In 2009, Merrithew entered into a civilian contract with the U.S. State Department to train police officers in Afghanistan. He later became a civilian contractor with the U.S. Department of Defense for the same type of position until returning home in 2014.
“I always had a calling to serve my country,” Merrithew said. “The contract positions provided me with the opportunity to serve while also providing financial benefit for my family.”
While in Afghanistan, Merrithew served in the position of International Police Task Force Supervisor, literally building a police department from the ground up in various locations throughout the country.
He helped from the design of the department building to mentoring the police in all functions of the police department including staffing and vetting, operations budgeting and, most importantly, Merrithew led by example building trust based relationships with the citizens at large.
“It was a great opportunity to help build all areas of a police department,” said Merrithew. “I loved working with our troops and with the Afghan people. I had to prove myself to the Marines and to the Afghans, and was very proud of the ceremony they gave for me when I left.”
At the ceremony, Merrithew was presented with Certificates of Appreciation for Civilian Service in Afghanistan from the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army Georgia National Guard, Canadian Department of Defense and 207th Corps of the Afghanistan National Army.
Now, as a Republican candidate for sheriff, Merrithew wants to combine his local and international law enforcement experience to build a Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office that all citizens can be proud of.
Merrithew said working with the current resources and budget were important goals as well as reallocation of some personnel to better utilize those resources and get more patrol officers in the community.
“This election is about the future of Berkeley County,” Merrithew said. “I seek the office of Sheriff because it is a position that has the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of citizens.”
The special election primary for Berkeley County Sheriff will be held April 21, 2015 with primary runoffs, if needed, set for May 5, 2015. The special general election will be held June 9, 2015.
To read more about Merrithew and his plans, visit: www.JerryForSheriff.com