City manager presses on with police chief search - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

City manager presses on with police chief search

Posted: Updated:
Councilman Cameron Runyan (L) wants Sheriff Leon Lott (R) to take full control of the Columbia Police Department. Councilman Cameron Runyan (L) wants Sheriff Leon Lott (R) to take full control of the Columbia Police Department.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson was out of town Monday, visiting with one of the finalists for the police chief job.

Wilson did not see Councilman Cameron Runyan's press conference.

"That's a policy matter for City Council, so I typically don't comment on matters within their discretion," said Wilson.

Runyan wants Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott to take charge of the Columbia Police Department, combining the police force with Richland County deputies.

"Creating a seamless, unified law enforcement agency of over 1,000 officers and a total budget of $75 million," said Runyan.

When asked if the proposal would change Wilson's current search for top cop, she replied, "If that's the direction that City Council chooses to go, then, I guess it would. Again, I haven't been briefed on that proposal and I probably shouldn't comment any further because I really don't know much about it."

Council members Moe Baddourah and Tameika Isaac Devine question the motive of Runyan's suggestion.

"Things that make you go hmm. It makes you wonder why the timing right now," said Baddourah.

"I think this is another attempt to derail the process and I think it undermines democracy when you have a council who has already said, as a unit, that we wanted to move forward with the police chief search, and the City Manager has done that, and done that professionally. Now, at the eleventh hour you have someone saying, 'Oh, wait a minute, let's try something different,'" added Devine.

Wilson says she has narrowed the list of four finalists, to three. She and other city staffers have visited with the men, and Wilson says she's more confident than ever about the process.

"It's one of the most important decisions I'll make, so I take it extremely seriously. Important enough that I go visit for myself," said Wilson.

Wilson anticipates making a decision on chief next week.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow