After Deputy Kills Himself On Duty, County Admin Tells EMS To Kill Themselves If They Don’t Like Jobs
Kevin Bronson Later Apologized And Said He Was Disciplined
Richland County, South Carolina – Less than two weeks after this Richland County Deputy Derek Fish shot himself in his patrol car, Richland County Assistant County Administrator Kevin Bronson is accused of telling EMS employees that if they didn’t like their jobs then they should just kill themselves or just quit.
Kevin Bronson, the assistant county administrator for public safety, allegedly made those remarks during an August 10 meeting with about 100 Richmond County EMS workers, according to WIS TV.
Bronson told EMS workers of a list of complaints he had received from an employee, according to the TV station.
“So I’m looking through this list with 50 different problems and if it’s really that bad you can just kill yourself or leave,” Bronson reportedly said, according to one of the people in the audience.
“People were crying, people were yelling at him. One we just lost a deputy because of suicide. I don’t think he understands the gravity of the situation. We’re not here for the money, we’re here because we love what we do,” the audience member said.
WIS TV didn’t identify the audience member.
On July 28, Sheriff Deputy Derek Fish committed suicide by shooting himself with his service weapon in his patrol car after completing his shift, according to the Washington Post. It was the third suicide within this county’s sheriff department since 2001.
The TV station said they attempted to reach Bronson for comment on Friday morning but the county public information director Beverly Harris said Bronson was only available through appointment. Then Harris told WIS TV that the county would not be issuing a comment.
“We’re not going to comment on something that was said at an internal employee meeting,” Harris told the TV station.
The TV station reported that Bronson later apologized to EMS workers in an e-mail that the WIS TV was able to get a copy.
In the email, Bronson said his comments were “inappropriate and insensitive.”
“Those comments are my own and, while I regret them, I must live by them,” Bronson wrote.
Bronson said that he was punished by the county for his comments, but didn’t specify what they were.
“The disciplinary action I received was appropriate and the time I spent in the woodshed was both painful and appropriate,” Bronson said.
Bronson also said he has experience with suicide. He wrote that he lost a family member to suicide after he finished college.
“The pain of losing her in that matter is deep and everlasting,” Bronson said. “I should not have allowed either the heat of the moment nor the situation to lead to a moment of such callousness.”
Bronson promised in the email to respond to the concerns addressed by EMS employees.
Richland County Administrator Gerald Seals said in a statement that Bronson’s comments were “inappropriate” and “cavalier.”
“While public recounting of the incident has been mischaracterized, the fact that such comments were made will not be tolerated. Although this Assistant Administrator promptly apologized, more needed to be done – and he has been disciplined. On behalf of Richland County, I also apologize for what happened and regret that an employee in the Administrator’s Office spoke in such a manner. I am committed to ensuring all County employees know they are valued and respected,” Seals’ statement said.