COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A surprise job offer came during Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin's first State of the City address Tuesday evening.
During the speech, Benjamin said everything the city does begins and ends with public safety, and added "It's time to stop the revolving door at 1 Justice Square." He then offered the Chief of Police job to interim Chief Randy Scott, which Scott accepted.
"It took me a while to realize exactly that he was offering me the job, because this is just an honor," said Scott during an interview with Sunrise anchor Stewart Moore Wednesday morning. "An honor to have the opportunity to serve the community that I grew up in and I went to school in and that my parents and family live in."
Randy Scott grew up in Columbia and attended Keenan High School. Scott is a former Marine and a veteran of the Richland County Sheriff's Department who rose through the ranks to become chief deputy before accepting the interim chief position in October of 2010.
Scott is the third person to occupy the Columbia chief of police office in three years. Former chief Tandy Carter was fired in May after only two years with the department. Col. Carl Burke filled the void between May and October during the search for a permanent replacement for Carter.
"Being there for 3 months, we know that fiscally, there's not a money tree around, so we have to look into what we have and do a reorganization, whatever best serves the officers within the department and serves the citizens most efficiently," said Scott.
Scott's continuing focus is getting more officers on the streets. "The first order of business is reorganization, but getting those empty job spaces filled and getting those officers on the street to serve the community because the more officers we have, those are the more eyes and ears we're going to have to prevent crime," said Scott.
"Looking at these subjects that are doing these home daytime burglaries. And we want to get them and arrest them and we want to do everything possible to keep them incarcerated so they don't come out and re-offend," said Scott. "Because that's the problem that we have, we'll get them locked up, they will get out and they will re-offend again, which re-victimizes the community."
Scott's promotion goes in to effect immediately. When asked if he planned to do anything special during his first day as chief, Scott said would "continue as we have been moving forward. My first day on the job started from October when I started. I promised that I would not do the job as an interim chief and I never did."