City Council members say they support Chief Scott during leave - - Columbia, South Carolina

City Council members say they support Chief Scott during leave

Columbia City Council member Tameika Isaac Devine discusses Chief Randy Scott Columbia City Council member Tameika Isaac Devine discusses Chief Randy Scott
Randy Scott takes the oath office Randy Scott takes the oath office

There continues to be a lot of speculation about what caused Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott to step away to deal with what he said were personal issues.

Some city council members are convinced those personal problems are the central matter that led to Scott's disappearance, making the change at the top of the police department different from others over the past few years.   

Members of the Columbia City Council said his sudden leave of absence is the result of personal matters not related to how his department gets along with city government. 

On leave for more than two weeks now, Scott is still Columbia's Police Chief.  And he still has support from city council members including Tameika Isaac Devine.

"Chief Scott has brought in and built a really good team," said Devine. "I think the issues or concerns raised by previous chiefs really don't exist anymore."

Devine is referring to a series of issues brought up in 2008, with the release of a highly critical report from a blue ribbon panel set up to take a hard look at C-P-D operations.

That group headed by former South Carolina Chief Justice Ernest Finney cited a drop in morale caused by the report called a "failure of administrative and governmental leadership." The report also identified a widespread belief that the city's chief is subjected to undue influence by city management and council members.

Something similar to what Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott described when we asked him last week about the issues that may have contributed to Scott's sudden decision.

"You're not in control of your department," said Lott. "You have many other people above you that make decisions that impact that department.  So you may be the police chief, but you may not be the leader of that agency, where your decision is the decision that's followed."

"You have to get the approval of other people who are not in law enforcement, who may not understand a law enforcement decision," Lott said.

Devine and fellow council member Sam Davis told us this week they see a much improved police department under Scott. Both believe the situation is being handled properly by City Manager Teresa Wilson.

"The city manager is doing what she needs to," said Devine. "When you have a staff person that's highly regarded and they feel they need some time to deal with some stuff, you have to respect that."

Some of Scott's closest friends in law enforcement are staying in touch with him.  They refuse to say where he is, but one said he believes the chief is not in Columbia.

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