Shake-up at sheriff’s office aimed at improving communication, officials say

A shake-up of top commanders at the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office stems from an effort to improve communication with other area law enforcement agencies, officials said today.

On Friday, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon abruptly dismissed Assistant Sheriff Andrene Coury-Smith and Maj. Oliver “Ollie” Puckett, stating there was “a need for a new direction in the positions.”

Both officers were relieved of their duties Friday, Maj. Jim Brady said.

Neither Cannon nor Brady initially offered further explanation of the moves. But today, Brady said the sheriff acted out of a desire to “make sure the command staff is in closer contact with other area agencies and are involved in working with their command staffs more so than in the past.”

Brady declined to elaborate, but said the moves do not stem from any particular incident or involve any wrong-doing on the part of Coury-Smith or Puckett. The sheriff does not wish to discuss the episode in further detail, he said.

Coury-Smith, a 30-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, could not be reached for comment today.

Puckett, who was promoted to his position last year, supervised specialty teams such as the bomb squad, the SWAT team and the traffic unit. Reached on this cell phone this morning, he said: “No comment, and don’t call here again.”

Cannon tapped Chief Deputy Mitch Lucas, administrator of the county jail, to serve as acting assistant sheriff. A replacement for Puckett has not yet been named.

Check back with for more on this story as it becomes available.

Comments { } is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. does not edit user submitted statements and we cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Read our full Terms and Conditions.