Sheriff P.J. Tanner

Joined the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office in 1981.
Lifelong resident of Beaufort County.

Sheriff P.J. Tanner joined the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office in 1981, just three days after turning 21 — the minimum age at which one is eligible to become a deputy.

He is now proudly serving his sixth term as Beaufort County’s chief law enforcement officer.

As a young deputy, Sheriff Tanner worked in a variety of roles, but most notably as a criminal investigator and commander of the county’s Drug Task Force and Southern Enforcement Branch.

Prior to his first election in 1998, Sheriff Tanner served for four years with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety in Columbia as a Bureau of Protective Services Investigator for all branches of state government, as well as a liaison for drug enforcement and environmental protection and enforcement.

I believe in equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity for all regardless of race, creed, sex, age, physical disability or political affiliation.

Sheriff P.J. Tanner

As Beaufort County’s law enforcement leader, Sheriff Tanner has consistently and successfully anticipated the needs of this fast-growing and diverse community and has remained steadfast in his belief that a law enforcement agency is only as good as the policies to which it adheres.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has advanced substantially since Sheriff Tanner started as a deputy. Today, the population is nearly 200,000, three times the size it was in 1981, and the county receives more than 2 million visitors a year.

Sheriff Tanner’s 340-person department — with its 245 sworn deputies and $32 million annual budget — is not only responsible for policing the county’s 900-plus square miles of road and waterway but also the county’s emergency management and dispatch for public safety.

During Sheriff’s Tanner’s tenure, the agency has maintained accreditations from CALEA, both in law enforcement and emergency dispatch services; established its own Forensic Services Laboratory, which includes DNA and chemistry sections; and prioritized its relationship with the community by embracing transparency, welcoming accountability and expanding its public communications.

Sheriff Tanner and his deputies have dedicated themselves to ensuring that Beaufort County is a prepared, protected and peaceful community, where residents and businesses can prosper, and guests can safely enjoy the county’s beautiful resources.

Sheriff Tanner has sat on a number of community boards and state and local advisory committees during the past two decades. He has also served as president of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association.

He is married to attorney and Beaufort County magistrate Angela McCall-Tanner of Greer, South Carolina.

Education

  • South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy
    1981

Career Highlights

  • Sheriff of Beaufort County
    • 2019-2023: Sixth four-year term
    • 2018: Re-Elected
    • 2015-2019: Fifth four-year term
    • 2014: Re-elected
    • 2011-2015: Fourth four-year term
    • 2010: Re-elected
    • 2007-2011: Third four-year term
    • 2006: Re-elected
    • 2003-2007: Second four-year term
    • 2002: Re-elected
    • 1999-2003: First four-year term
    • 1998: First elected 

  • South Carolina Department of Public Safety
    1995 to 1998
    • South Carolina Bureau of Protective Services
      Investigator for Executive Legislative, Judicial and Administrative Branches of South Carolina State Government
    • South Carolina Department of Public Safety State Highway Patrol
      Special Weapons and Reaction Team
    • South Carolina State Transport Police
      Drug Enforcement Liaison
    • Statewide Special Traffic Alcohol and Radar Team
      Member specializing in enforcement of Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Regulations through certification by the United States Department of Transportation
    • Environmental Protection and Enforcement
      Liaison for and member of the coordinating sub-committee for the United States Attorney’s Office

  • Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office
    1981 to 1994
    • Uniform Patrol Division
    • Patrol Supervisor
    • Boat Patrol Officer
    • Law Enforcement Instructor
    • Court Liaison Officer
    • Criminal Investigator
    • Internal Affairs Officer
    • Former SWAT Team Leader
    • Former Drug Task Force Commander
    • Former Southern Division Commander

Honors

  • Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse
    Certificate of Appreciation
  • South Carolina Republican Party Local Government Award
  • Partnership for Public Safety Nominee
    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Appointed Special Deputy United States Marshal for South Carolina
  • South Carolina Sheriff of the Year
    South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association

  • The Men and Women of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office “Part of Your Team” 
  • Excellence Award
    Diamond Pharmacy Services
  • Professionalism, Expertise and Leadership of Service
    Beaufort County Council 

  • The Keepers of the Flame Award
    NAACP Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Branch
  • Leadership Award
    Sun City Hilton Head Safety and Service
  • Special Appreciation of Support
    FBI/NAA South Carolina Chapter
  • Outstanding Support to Command’s Critical Training “Warriors Training Warriors
    First Army Division East
  • Business Partner of the Year 
    Beaufort Jasper Academy for Career Excellence

  • Special Recognition of Exemplary Support
    United States Marshals Service
  • Support of Narcotic Law Enforcement
    U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration
  • International Children’s Empowerment Award
    Children’s Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness

Affiliations

  • South Carolina Sheriff’s Association
  • National Sheriff’s Association
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Officer’s Association
  • Beaufort County Republican Party
  • Beaufort Area Republican Club
  • Sun City Republican Club
  • Bluffton Republican Club
  • Hilton Head Island Republican Club
  • Beaufort Federation of Republican Men
  • Former Member Corporate Board of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Low Country
  • Former Member South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council
  • Beaufort County Transportation Advisory Group
  • Technical College of Lowcountry Criminal Justice Advisory Committee
  • Elected 2006-2007 District No. 4 Representative South Carolina Sheriff’s Association Board of Directors
  • Legislative Committee for South Carolina Sheriff’s Association
  • Elected 2010-2011 President of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association