Chief deputy brings years of experience to job (Article courtesy of Union Daily Times-Anna Brown, April 18, 2009)
In a law enforcement career that spans 35 years, Perry Haney has done everything from write parking tickets to investigate murders.
He’s seen law enforcement take great strides in modernization, to the day of DNA.
And now he brings his years of experience to the Union County Sheriff’s Office as chief deputy to Sheriff David Taylor.
“I’m glad to be where I’m at and thankful to be back home,” Haney said. “We have a lot of good things going on at the sheriff’s office — morale, interagency cooperation and the progress. I’m just thankful for every day I get to be here.”
Haney, 56, said longtime Sheriff Harold Lamb was a role model who encouraged him to pursue law enforcement as a career. After graduating from USC-Union in 1972, Haney transferred to the main campus in Columbia. He began working for CCI in 1974 and later the Columbia Police Department, where he remained until 1976.
“I walked a beat, rode a motorcycle, worked traffic and worked in uniformed patrol,” he said. “It was a good experience.”
Haney wanted to come home, partly to help care for his elderly grandparents, Doc and Dorothy Haney. He was hired by Chief M.C. Hughey at the Union Police Department, now the Union Public Safety Department.
“The first patrol car I drove was a 60-something model,” he said. “There were no cell phones. They had computers but they were big as baby grand pianos. There was no such thing as DNA. They didn’t keep records and statistics like they do now. There were no digital cameras, CDs. You took statements on a reel to reel tape recorder.”
Haney and his wife, Vickie, were married in 1978. They have one son and daughter-in-law, Stephen and Katie Haney, and a grandchild on the way.
Haney rose to the rank of investigator at public safety and retired in 2000.
While he was working as a police officer, Haney worked part time with Graham Cash Company. After his retirement, the company offered him a full time job as a store manager. He later became a regional manager, overseeing stores in Union, Laurens and Gaffney. He never got law enforcement out of his blood. He remained active, testifying when cases he had investigated came to court and he also was a state constable.
He decided he wanted to go back into law enforcement full time and went to Laurens Police Chief Robin Morse and asked for a job.
“He hired me on the spot,” Haney said.
Haney said his father, the late Bob Haney, just didn’t understand this.
“I’ll never forget what my daddy told me,” Haney said with a laugh. “He said, ‘Why in the world would you want to do that? You’re retired. You worked all those years without getting seriously hurt.’”
Haney had completed training at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy when he was 22. At 50, he had to go back through a special basic class that lasted four weeks.
“I started over on the road in uniform, got promotions and made it back to investigator,” he said. “I worked in Laurens almost 5 1/2 years.”
Haney had become friends with Taylor in 1978 while both were working as Union police officers. In 2007, Taylor visited Haney, told him he was considering running for sheriff and asked if Haney would support him.
“I knew what kind of man he was, I had worked cases with him,” Haney said. “He showed me some things he had planned to do if he got elected sheriff and I liked them. I told him I was impressed and I would support him. When he got elected he offered me this job. I told him I would be happy to come work for him. I liked it in Laurens and I had planned to stay until I retired again. But when I got the offer to come back here, I knew David and knew what he was capable of. It has worked out well. David has done some amazing things since he has been here. I am proud to be a part of it. He and I think a lot of like far as the way he does business. He is progressive, he’s compassionate and he cares about people. I can’t say enough good about him. He is one of the best sheriffs Union County has ever had.”
As chief deputy, Haney is assistant to Taylor and acts as sheriff is absent or ill.
“You assist him in every way, in administrative duties, training — it’s a lot of responsibility.” he said.
On April 7, Haney, Taylor, Capt. Jeff Lawson and Capt. James McNeil all were sworn in as special deputy United States Marshals.
It wasn’t hard to fall back into place in Union County, Haney said.
“People have been very nice to me,” he said. “I’m like my daddy — what you see is what you get. I believe in doing the right thing — I put my religious faith and my family first. I like working with people, I like helping people.”
Taylor said when he decided to run for sheriff, he remembered those early days when he had worked with Haney and thought he would be an excellent choice for chief deputy.
“He was always willing to help young officers get started; he didn’t get aggravated trying to train new people,” Taylor said. “Perry has always worked well with everybody and had a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table. We both have a teamwork approach and that was evident back in the ‘70s when we were working together. He is a lot of fun to work with. He never comes in in a bad mood. He is Perry every day you see him.”
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