Captain Joseph Pellicci (Image: Richland County Sheriff's Dept.)
Richland County, SC (WLTX) - A longtime member of the Richland County Sheriff's Department who the sheriff called "the consummate professional" has passed away.
Sheriff Leon Lott announced Tuesday that Captain Joseph Pellicci died at the age of 53.
Pellicci had been with the department since 1997. He began as the public information officer, helping to keep the community, including the media, up-to-date on the agency's law enforcement initiatives and community outreach.
Over the years, he was was promoted to Captain of the Special Services Division, where he oversaw the School Resource Officer Program, Project HOPE, and Handicap Parking Programs.
Lott says Pellicci worked tirelessly for the Special Olympics for many years, and the sheriff credits him for making the Richland County Sheriff's Department Special Services Division second to none in promoting safety in schools and communities.
Since 2005, Pellicci had battled cancer off and on. In 2011, News19 profiled Pellicci's journey and his participation in the Relay for Life Walk.
"Joe was a man of God who cared for his family at home and the Department," Lott said in a statement. "He did so much for so many people and will be missed more than words can say."
Prior to working at the sheriff department, Pellicci reported at WLTX and was a public information officer for the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
He is survived by his wife, two children, and a son-in-law who is a Richland County deputy.