Wilson announces finalists for Columbia police chief

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson announced five finalists for Columbia police chief Tuesday.

All of the candidates are from outside the Columbia Police Department. Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago is not one of the finalists.

The candidates are:

  • Tony Fisher -- Fisher was most recently the Director of Public Safety for the City of Spartanburg where he was responsible for the operation of Law Enforcement and Fire Suppression services for the City.
  • William Holbrook -- Holbrook is currently Chief of Police for the Huntington, West Virginia Police Department, where he manages 111 sworn and 15 civilian forces and a $12 million dollar annual budget.
  • Bryan Norwood -- Norwood was most recently chief of police in Richmond, Virginia. Norwood resigned amid tension with city officials surrounding a multi-million dollar lawsuit involving overtime and accusations that he falsely approved singer Chris Brown's community service hours. He has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience.
  • Charles Rapp -- Rapp is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions.
  • Gregory Reese -- Reese currently serves as Chief of Security Forces for Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

According to the city, each candidate has held the position of chief or the equivalent, in his respective community. The slate of candidates manages between 111 to 2,000 sworn law enforcement personnel, with budgets ranging from $12 to $79 million dollars.

Each of the five candidates has earned BS/BA degrees and three have earned Master's degrees. In addition, each of the five candidates has received extensive law enforcement training. Several are FBI Academy graduates.

Santiago released a statement Tuesday afternoon through the department's spokesperson, saying it had been a "privilege to serve" as the interim chief.

The format for the next phase of the search process for the City of Columbia's Police Chief will begin on February 18.

The candidates will be engaged in a three-day assessment process that will include the participation of the City Manager, Police Chief Search Committee, Community Stakeholders Panel and the citizens of Columbia.

"I remain committed to conducting a fair and transparent process that is open, engaging and inclusive. The collaborative efforts of our Search Committee and Community Stakeholders have been vital to this national search and I'm especially grateful for their time, diligence and dedication," said Wilson. "Thanks to them, we have an amazing slate of candidates to consider. This position is critical to the future of our Capital City and one that I don't take lightly.  I have no doubt that my decision will be difficult, but I will certainly use every ounce of information available to make the right choice for our citizens and communities."

A public forum that will provide an opportunity for citizens to meet the candidates and submit questions for them to answer.  The Police Chief Search Public Forum will be held at City Hall (Chambers), 1737 Main Street, on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  During the forum, candidates will respond to questions that have been submitted by citizens.

Any citizen who would like to submit a question can email it to columbiahr@columbiasc.net or mail it to Gardner Johnson, Department of Human Resources, 1225 Lady Street, Columbia SC 29201.  All questions must be received by February 17, 2014.  Citizens are asked to submit one question per person.

The other segments of the assessment process will be held in executive session and will not be open to the public.

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