Sen. Cleary: Steve Pop will serve citizens well as magistrate

  • Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Steve Pop

State Sen. Ray Cleary (R-Murrells Inlet) says Steve Pop, his appointee for Georgetown County magistrate in Pawleys Island, will prove to be an outstanding choice.

“I think he will serve the citizens of Georgetown County well,” Cleary said.

He said Gov. Nikki Haley has approved Pop for the position and he has passed a magistrate’s test.

Once the S.C. Senate receives word from the governor’s office that his background check is complete, they will vote for or against his appointment.

When he is confirmed, he will take courses and be required to pass an exam and observe trials with a mentor before he can begin as magistrate.

“I am looking forward to making the appointment in the Senate, hopefully this week,” Cleary said.

Cleary nominated Pop, a sergeant with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources who lives in the Litchfield area, because of his experience with law enforcement.

Choosing him was an extension of the search for a Georgetown County magistrate in Murrells Inlet in 2011, in which Pop was a contender.

In fact, Murrells Inlet resident Johnny Lewis presented Cleary with a petition signed by 300 supporters of Pop for the position.

A letter written to Cleary in 2011 stated:

“Dear Senator Cleary:

“On behalf of the nearly 300 Murrells Inlet residents that signed the enclosed petitions supporting the nomination of Steve Pop to be the next Murrells Inlet magistrate, I urge you to forward his nomination to Governor Haley as soon as possible.

“Based on his qualifications and character S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources Officer Pop would make an outstanding magistrate. Additionally, he meets your stated requirement of a law enforcement background for the position.

“Pop has been a respected law enforcement officer for 13 years.

“He has resided in Georgetown County and on the Waccamaw Neck for 13 years, and has been very involved with and respected in the Murrells Inlet community.

“We are confident that Pop has the knowledge, experience, character, and community respect to serve the Murrells Inlet community with distinction as magistrate and urge you to abide by the wishes of your constituents and submit his nomination to the Governor.”

During that selection, Dave Jolliff was nominated by Cleary and approved by the governor, but widespread speculation about Jolliff’s character caused him to withdraw from the appointment.

John Benso, a local attorney, was then appointed to the position of Georgetown County magistrate in Murrells Inlet.

“False statements and misinformation from Mr. Jolliff’s immediate supervisor led to that,” Cleary said.

About Steve Pop

Pop has served the SCDNR as a wildlife officer since 1995.

He has received several accolades, including Officer of the Year in DNR’s Region IV in 2012, and South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2011.

Pop is a College of Charleston graduate and he graduated near the top of his class at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy.

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