photo of Sheriff Lott in uniform
Sheriff Leon Lott

Sheriff's Department patch


Sheriff Leon Lott

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. The success that the Department has had in the community since that time can be measured by the civic and community oriented boards and committees that have asked for Sheriff Lott’s participation, to wit:
  • USO Advisory Council
  • President - SC Law Enforcement Officers' Association
  • SC Correctional Association - Board of Directors
  • D.A.R.E. America - Board of Directors
  • Fight Crime- Invest in Kids - Advisory Committee, Washington, DC
  • Cooperative Ministry - Advisory Board
  • Communities in Schools - Advisory Board
  • Boy Scouts of America - Indian Waters Council - Board of Directors
  • SC Public Safety Coordinating Council - Chairman
  • SC Police Corps - Advisory Council
  • United Way - Local Government Division Chairman  
  • American Heart Association - Industry Leader Division
  • March of Dimes - Luxury Lockup - Chairman  
  • American Red Cross - Division Chair
  • SC Center for Family Policy - Board of Directors
  • SC Council for Conflict Resolution - Advisory Council  
  • Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • University of South Carolina Alumni Association
  • University of South Carolina - Aiken Alumni Association
  • Spring Valley Rotary Club
  • Chapin Sertoma Club
  • Special Olympics - Board of Directors
  • National Safety Council
  • National Federation for the Blind
  • Greater Columbia Community Relations Council

  •  Brigadier General - Commander - SC State Guard
  • Honorary Green Beret - Special Forces Assoc. (S.C. chapter)
  • American Legion Post 6 - Commander - S.A.L.
  • Retired Military Police Association
  • Employee Support for Guard and Reserve - Board of Directors
  • Association of the United States Army - Palmetto State Chapter
  • SC Combat Veterans Group
  • SEABEE Veterans of America
  • Adjutant General's Corps Regimental Association
  • South Carolina Combat Veteran's Group
  • Special Forces Association

  • Boyleston Masonic Lodge - AFM #123
  • Columbia York Rite
  • Columbia Scottish Rite
  • National Sojourners - Ft. Jackson Post 184

  • 2018 Public Servant of the Year - Columbia Chamber of Commerce
  • 2018 Fort Jackson Hall of Fame
  • 2018 Chief LaMunyon Leadership Award - Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics South Carolina
  • 2017 Outstanding Community Service Award - Building Better Communities
  • 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award - Gamecock Battalion
  • 2015 Colonel Ordie P. Taylor Humanitarian of the Year Award - Community Relations Council Columbia Luncheon Club
  • 2015 First Responder of the Year - Benedict College Athletic Department
  • 2015 US Army War College National Security Seminar
  • 2014 Honorary Defense Force Commander - 169th Security Forces Squadron
  • 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award - ESGR
  • 2012 DEA / DARE America Law Enforcement Executive of the Year
  • 2012 Human Rights Presidential Citation, SC NAACP
  • 2011 Local Government Official of the Year, SC Recreation and Parks Association
  • 2011 Richard Allen Award, Allen University
  • 2010 Columbia Chamber of Commerce Military Advocate Award
  • 2010 New Ebenezer Baptist Church Outstanding Public Service Award
  • 2010 Horatio Gates Honorary Medal
  • 2007 Order of the Palmetto
  • 2006 Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce, Community Service Award
  • 2004 "SC Sheriff of the Year"
  • 2004 "Strom Thurmond Award of Excellence in Law Enforcement"
  • 2004 SC Law Enforcement Officers' Association - "Toughest Cop"
  • 2004 SC Vocational Rehabilitation Association - "Citation for Individual Contributions" (accessibility rights for people with disabilities)
  • 2002 Palmetto Pride (SC Governor's Beautification and Litter Control Program) - "Outstanding Leadership in Litter Enforcement"
  • 2002 SC Victim Assistance Network - "Silver Scales of Justice"
  • 2001 Indian Waters Council - Boy Scouts of America - "Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award"
  • 2001 Martin Luther King, Jr. - "Drum Major for Justice Award"
  • 2000 Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce - "Athena Award"
  • 2000 SC Association of School Resource Officers - "President's Award"
  • 2000 SC Association of Crime Prevention Officers - "Administrator of the Year"
  • 1999 "Carolina's Toughest Cop"
  • 1989 SC Law Enforcement Officers' Association - "Officer of the Year"
  • 1986 Columbia Jaycees "Young Officer of the Year"

Sheriff Lott, a member of the First Baptist Church of Columbia, is married and has four daughters.





5623 Two Notch Road 
Columbia, South Carolina 29223 
(803) 576-3000 phone (803) 576-3195 fax

Copyright © 2007-18 Richland County Sheriff's Department