Captain Scott Chandler oversees Emergency Management, the Support Services Divisions as well as the Special Operations Division. This is one of the largest and most vital sections of the police department. Emergency Management offers leadership and assistance during a natural disaster or major incident, they create operation plans beforehand for each natural or man-made disaster to mitigate the situation if it were to arise.
Several functions of the department fall under Support Services, to include: Budget, CALEA, Court and Town Hall Security, the department’s eight Chaplains, Quartermaster/Fleet, Records and Evidence, Recruits, Training, and the Volunteers. Lt. Christian Gonzales supervises the Sergeants and officers that fall under the Support Services Division.
The Records section stores all police reports, forms and documents for the Department. It holds files pertaining to arrests, incidents, and accidents, and distributes these files in accordance with Department’s policy and federal guidelines, such as the Freedom of Information Act. The Sergeant assigned to Support Services also conducts court security once a week, and Town Council security once a month. The Evidence section has the overall mission to accept, catalog, safeguard, store, produce as required, and then dispose of all evidence and property that comes into the custody of the Bluffton Police Department. They also return property to the legal owners when applicable and provide fingerprinting for the public. This service is done at the Bluffton Police Department Mondays-Thursdays 12PM-4PM and on Fridays 8AM-12PM.
The Special Operations Division is led by Lt. Joe George. This Division has functions to include the Community Action Team, Community Events, Code Enforcement, Crossing Guards, Honor Guard, Recruiting, School Resource Officers, and the Traffic Unit.
The Community Action Team is a unit made up of officers who focus on educating the community on various aspects of the department. The officers primarily visit schools, hospitals, businesses and various types of organizations like the local Rotary and Kiwanis Club.
The department plans, manages and arranges more than 400 community events each year. To offering the venue, providing equipment and security detail, community events are a very important part of the department and Town.
The School Resource Officers have a diverse roll in the school community and has many duties and responsibilities. A SRO is a sworn officer assigned to a school on a long-term basis, trained to perform three major roles; a law enforcement officer, a law-related counselor, and a law-related educator. In addition, the officer works in collaboration with the school and the community as a resource for safety and security issues. Currently, the Bluffton Police Department has five SROs located in two middle schools, two high schools, and one K-8 school.
The Traffic Team was created in 2016 after the department received a grant from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety totaling $205,000. The grant allowed the department to hire two officers with the intent to decrease traffic collisions, decrease collisions with injury and decrease fatal collisions. The areas the Traffic Team targets are US Highway 278, Bluffton Parkway and SC Highway 170.