City in 'final phases' of hiring new police chief - - Columbia, South Carolina |

City in 'final phases' of hiring new police chief

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By the end of the week, the city of Columbia could have a new police chief. City Manager Teresa Wilson's top candidate for the job was in town on Friday to meet with other Midlands law enforcement officials.

That candidate, identified as Huntington, W. Va. police chief William "Skip" Holbrook, would not say whether or not a contract had been extended to him by the city.

Instead, Holbrook pointed us back to the city when he was asked questions about becoming Columbia's next police chief. City officials, meanwhile, say they are in the final phases of the hiring process.

When we spoke to city officials in Huntington, they say Holbrook has not yet turned in his resignation, but are aware that he's a finalist in Columbia. They say it's not the first time he's been considered a candidate for another position during his tenure.

Huntington officials say the city was in transition seven years ago when Holbrook started. He helped the city secure millions in federal funds and grants to put more officers on the streets without burdening city taxpayers.

We did find a pending case in the courts that resulted from the chief not being willing to turn over documents in a Freedom of Information Act request. The case involved a deadly shooting by one of his officers.

According to Holbrook's application, it was dated just two days before the deadline in December and the city stamped it on the final day applications were received.

Wilson has been questioned by citizens and at least one city council member about the selection process, but despite that, the city manager has been resolute.

"I think it's so important to finish what you start, and I think I have put my heart into really digging deep to look into the background of this candidate to really have some serious discussion with him about his commitment to the city in the long term, and I'm just looking forward to the day when I can make an announcement," said Wilson.

It's ultimately Teresa Wilson's decision. She doesn't have to have the blessing of council to extend an offer to her top candidate. We'll be watching for that to happen as she indicated early this week.

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