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Sheriff’s office: After 14 years on patrol, top deputy has no desire for desk job


By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A Georgetown County deputy who stopped Monday to investigate a van broken down on the side of Highway 17 found the driver walking along the shoulder with a gas can. There wasn’t room in the patrol car for both, so Deputy Sean Seebode took the can and $4 from the man. The deputy bought the gas and “he was on his way,” Seebode said. “I like helping people.”

He was named Deputy of the Year by Sheriff Lane Cribb.

At 6-foot-7, Seebode is perhaps the most visible law enforcement presence on Waccamaw Neck. He’s been with the sheriff’s office 14 years and still works patrol in the Pawleys Island area. “I like it. I’m not cooped up in an office every day,” he said. “I just like getting out.”

His longevity also stands out in an office that has struggled with turnover as deputies who get their training with the county leave for higher-paying jobs in surrounding areas. “I didn’t do it for the money,” Seebode said. “They treated me well.”

He’s got a reputation for being tough, but fair. Over time, he’s found less seems to be going on when he’s on patrol because people recognize him. “I’m not being cocky,” Seebode added. As for the award, while pleased, he noted “I’ve got co-workers that do as much as I do.”

Seebode was born in Maryland, but grew up on Long Island in New York. He joined the Coast Guard, serving on a cutter in the New York area which was sent on a foreign duty tour before it was assigned to Charleston. Seebode came to Coast Guard Station Georgetown in 1997. A boatswain’s mate, he worked in law enforcement and search and rescue. That brought him into contact with the sheriff’s office. “You could depend on them,” he said.

While the area has grown during his years with the sheriff’s office, Seebode said the people he deals with most often don’t change. “It’s the same ones over and over,” he said. He acknowledges not everyone is happy to see him. “A lot of people want to blame the police,” Seebode said. “You’re responsible for your actions.”

Over time, he has seen some of the usual suspects mellow. People Seebode has arrested in the past will ask for him when they are in trouble and need a deputy. “I’m fair, but I don’t put up with nonsense,” he said. While he knows the community from his years on patrol, Seebode hasn’t become complacent. “For me, when I’m working, I have to be on my toes,” he said. “I’m always expecting the worst. In this job, these days, you’ve got to.”

But at the end of the day, he’s able to put it behind him. His wife Pauline is a nurse. They don’t talk about their work. They have two daughters, Juliet, who lives in New York, and Victoria, who still lives at home. One of his hobbies is woodworking, a skill he learned in the Coast Guard.

He also puts his investigative skills to work in genealogy. His mother came to the U.S. from Northern Ireland. He recently found a cousin who also lives in the Pawleys Island area, a connection he learned about from a relative he found in Australia. He’s also been able to learn more about his great-grandfather, who he heard stories about as a child. He was a police officer in New York in the 1930s.

“It’s fun. It’s a challenge,” he said. The same applies to his work.

“It’s different every day,” Seebode said. “If you think you’ve learned everything, it’s time to pack your bags.”

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