Ruben Santiago picked as interim Columbia police chief - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Ruben Santiago picked as interim Columbia police chief

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The City of Columbia has appointed deputy chief Ruben Santiago as the interim Chief of Police after Chief Randy Scott announced plans to retire and reapply for his job.

Santiago was sworn in as chief at 9 a.m. on Monday after Scott's immediate retirement.

The interim chief has been an officer since 1998, and has received commendations and awards for his service.

However, Santiago appears to be keeping the seat warm for Scott, who will have to take a 15-day leave of absence from the police department and the SCPRS and reapply to be chief.

"Under our system of government that decision rests with the City Manager," said Mayor Steve Benjamin. "The City Manager will take all qualified applicants and, at the end of the day, will make a conscience decision on who the next chief of the fire department will be."

Scott says the decision was based on changes to the South Carolina Police Retirement System that limit financial earnings for all retirees beginning in January.

"I do not want to retire, but because of the recent changes made I am left with no other choice," says Scott in a statement. "It is my continued desire to serve the great residents and employees of the City of Columbia Police Department."

This is not the first time a city official has retired in order to avoid the state retirement changes. Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins retired several months ago, and was then rehired for the exact same position.

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