PROSPERITY —A Prosperity police officer has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested.
Prosperity Police Officer James M. Smithson, 44, of 79 Ralph Williams Road, Prosperity, was arrested on Sept. 27 for drug charges and is awaiting a court date.
Smithson has been charged with two counts of marijuana distribution as well as misconduct in office, according to the S.C. Attorney General’s Communications Director Mark Powell.
The misconduct occurred because of the distribution, according to Powell.
A $15,000 surety bond was set at the bond hearing that was held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the Richland County Courthouse in Columbia, according the attorney general’s office. Prior to his bond hearing, he was held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County.
No immediate court date has been set, according to Powell who adds that because of the continuing investigation, information such as where Smithson was caught and whether he was on duty may not be released yet.
Smithson became an officer with the Prosperity Police Department on Jan. 3.
He resigned from the City of Newberry Police Department in April 2011 after working there for about five years, according to Tina Wicker with the City of Newberry’s human resources.
The investigation is still under investigation. The Prosperity Police Department is not handling the case.
Outside sources are handling the case according to Prosperity Police Administrator Benji Sease.
The S.C. Attorney Generals’ office is prosecuting the case and the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and SLED are investigating.
As for the coverage in and around Prosperity, Mayor Derek Underwood assures residents and businesses that coverage is not an issue.
He states that Sease went around to the businesses on Wednesday to make sure everything is alright. This is actually something that the police department has just started doing.
At the Sept. 18 Prosperity town council meeting, Sease said that the officers would be more present as well as make more visits to the businesses so that people in town are safer.
As for coverage, there is Sease, officer Adam Tesenair, a couple of reserve officers and the sheriff’s department helps out.
“Every police department has issues. Other towns go through similar issues,” said Underwood, “We’ll be resilient and work through it and be stronger because of it.”