Editor’s Note: This the first in a series of articles that will be appearing about the new team at the Dillon County Sheriff’s Office.
By Betsy Finklea
Public service is a calling for Detective Derrick Cartwright, who is now serving as part of the new team at the Dillon County Sheriff’s Office.
From a police officer to a firefighter to an EMT, Cartwright is a highly trained deputy with 16 years of law enforcement experience and vast experience in first response.
Cartwright discovered his love of public service at the age of 16 when he joined the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department as a Junior Firefighter. He later joined the Latta Fire Department eventually becoming chief of the department. He also joined the Latta Rescue Squad and served there as president.
Cartwright joined the Latta Police Department in November 2004 and graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 2005. In 2006, he became a training officer and evidence officer, and in 2014, he moved to the rank of assistant chief. He had extensive training and has served as a basic instructor, a LASER (Law Enforcement Active Shooter Emergency Response) instructor, capstun spray instructor, firearms instructor, field training officer, and Taser instructor.
In 2013, Cartwright graduated with honors from American Public University, where he majored in criminal justice and minored in business administration.
In November 2016, Cartwright was named chief of the Latta Police Department where he served until December 2020. While chief, he worked to make the department more proactive than reactive by establishing a drone program, getting laptop computers into the vehicles and updating technology, starting a K-9 program, and making the department more community oriented and involved with the public.
Cartwright said he is “loving” his new position at the Sheriff’s Office as a detective. He said he misses the people, but he still gets to go see them, and he enjoying the switch and the change of pace. “I’m enjoying it,” said Cartwright. “I’m meeting a lot of new people, learning new skills, and putting it all to work.”
Cartwright said he thanks Sheriff Douglas Pernell for the opportunity to serve the people of Dillon County.