Born in Aiken, South Carolina, in 1953, Sheriff Leon Lott attended the University of South Carolina - Aiken, earning an Associate Degree in Police Administration. He went on to attend the University of South Carolina - Columbia, earning a Bachelor Degree in Sociology and continued with graduate study for a Masters in Criminal Justice.
Later, Sheriff Lott graduated from the FBI National Academy, FBI National Executive Institute, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Furman University's SC Diversity Leadership Academy. Sheriff Lott earned a Masters in Emergency Management from Lander University.
Sheriff Lott came to the Richland County Sheriff's Department in 1975 as a patrol officer. He advanced thereafter to various positions, including Criminal Investigator, Narcotics Agent, Lieutenant and Captain of Narcotics Division, Administrative Captain, Uniform Patrol Captain, and Watch Commander.
In 1993, Sheriff Lott took the position of Chief of Police of St. Matthews, SC.
In 1996, he made a successful run for Sheriff of Richland County. Upon taking office, Sheriff Lott turned the direction of the Department to Community Oriented Policing.
Sheriff Lott was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, Commander of the South Carolina State Guard in 2018.
Sheriff Lott received an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Public Service from the University of South Carolina in December 2021.
Sheriff Lott, a member of the First Baptist Church of Columbia, is married and has four daughters.
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