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DSS, law agencies renew annual protocol agreement

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By Jesef Williams

Lancaster County Department of Social Services and two local law enforcement agencies have renewed an agreement that outlines their partnership in dealing with endangered children and vulnerable adults.

Chief Deputy Barry Faile of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office and Capt. Harlean Howard of the Lancaster Police Department appeared with DSS Director Janice Chapman to sign the protocol Friday at the DSS office on Pageland Highway.

"It's important that we work together because all of us have the same goal – to serve the people," Faile said.

The multi-page pact spells out the entities' expectations and authority in dealing with situations that may involve DSS.

For instance, law officers have the right to take a child into protective custody and can access any DSS file, if needed.

DSS can receive criminal history reports from the police department or sheriff's office free of charge.

DSS and the two law enforcement agencies also agree to share information with each other, including information involving investigations.

Officers also notify DSS when a person is taken into custody and often accompanies DSS workers when making home visits.

Chapman said the protocol is renewed every year.

"It's about coordinating our efforts," Chapman said. "We could not do our jobs without law enforcement."

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152