The following is an unedited statement from Kristin Graziano, a candidate for Charleston County Sheriff:
On Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, I was called into Sheriff Al Cannon’s office and notified I was being placed on leave of absence from my duties as a law enforcement officer because I plan to run against him this year as the next sheriff of Charleston County. After serving the department for 18 years, I was asked to turn in my credentials, service weapons, and vehicle.
In a letter that I was given, Sheriff Cannon stated, “Your campaign website claims you are ‘running in 2020 because it’s time for a change. Our Community deserves transparency, accountability, and fairness within the Sheriff’s Office.’ By implication you are stating that my policies are not fair or accountable.”
In the Feb. 28, 2020, Post and Courier article about my departure, he is quoted as saying, “If it’s so bad that she thinks she needs to replace me, I am not sure why she’s still working here.”
Let me be very clear: I am here to serve the people of Charleston. That is the job that I was hired to do and the oath I swore to uphold, not any one career politician’s agenda. As law enforcement professionals, we are trained to run toward the problems, not to cut and run. I have never quit anything in my life because it was hard or uncomfortable.
Colleen Condon, who is the Charleston County Democratic Party chairwoman, says “Kristin would be an amazing sheriff and conducts herself with the highest integrity. It is shocking to me that an officer of the law discharged Kristin specifically for exercising her constitutional rights.”
My entire career has never been about me -- it’s so much bigger than that. I have performed my duties with honor and distinction, not for praise and recognition, for the last 31 years. I do it because I love serving people. In fact, my volunteer experience at Crescent Hospice has shown me the importance of human connection. I believe in order to be a public servant, we must first be able to connect with people. I’m in this to bring people together and that’s just what I intend to do as Charleston’s next sheriff. I look forward to this race, and I welcome the challenge ahead.
You can also watch Graziano's recent interview with Quintin Washington on Quintin's Close-ups here.