After two decades of working where the rubber meets the road in law enforcement, Capt. Kenny Downing has transitioned to a new role for the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office. The long time deputy and investigator is now the jail administrator at the Greenwood County Detention Center.
“It’s definitely different than what I have been doing for the last 20 years,” Downing said of his new position. “I enjoy it, but it’s different. It’s a learning process. I’m going to grab the bull by the horns and do the best I can.”
Downing spent his first year in law enforcement with the Ninety Six Police Department before moving over to GCSO. He spent 10 years on s regular shift before being transferred to investigations, where he has spent the last 8 years.
“I definitely miss the people I worked with in investigations,” Downing said. “There is a really good group of people over there. I was fortunate to learn a lot under (former lead investigator) Ray (Watson) and (current lead investigator) Jarvis (Reeder). What I learned over there has helped me a lot over here at the jail.”
Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis said Downing was an easy choice for the job.
“When (Downing) was in investigations he really stepped up and did a great job,” Davis said of his new jail administrator. “It’s a tough job back there and I felt he would do a great job back there. He’s done a great job back there so far.”
Downing excitedly talked about many of the things he would like to see done at the jail. Downing is already looking into implementing an identification bracelet program in the jail that would allow detention officers to scan a bar code on the bracelet and instantly get information on the inmate. He is also looking into a legal research service for inmates. Currently, jail personnel get information inmates ask for and bring it to them.
After being one of the people responsible for landing many of the inmates in the jail, Downing said he has seen another side of law enforcement working in the detention center.
“Yes, they’re inmates,” Downing said. “But they’re also human beings. They’re someone’s kid, someone’s parent, someone’s spouse. Many of them don’t know what their future holds because their case has not yet come to court. It’s a different perspective back here, for sure.”
Downing began the job as jail administrator in May and says he is still learning, but feels confident he can take the detention center to a new level of operation.
“There is a great group of detention center officers here who do a great job,” Downing said. “With their help and the help of jail administrators in other counties, I think we can make the Greenwood County Detention Center the best it has ever been.”