Community leaders weary of city council meddling with new police - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Community leaders weary of city council meddling with new police chief

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Community leaders are hoping the newest chief of police at the Columbia Police Department will bring strong leadership, but those leaders still say Columbia City Council could get in the way.

William "Skip" Holbrook will start as the next top cop April 11.

Many residents and business owners believe Chief Holbrook can command authority, but they hope he is also willing to listen to the community and meet with citizens.

Some think the new chief has the tools needed to strengthen the department, provide for the community, and help businesses, but they want to make sure politics don't get in the way of letting him do his job.

"I think with the past chiefs that we've had, it's been a tough obstacle to overcome with the politics that have been involved," said Marion Moses with the Devine Street Association. "I think that's maybe been part of the demise of some of the past chiefs that have tried to handle that position. I think that's going to be something we'd like to see change -- let him do his job. He's got the credentials, he's got the background."

Bill Shuler from the Prescott Neighborhood Association says he actually feels sorry for Holbrook.

"He looks like a nice guy, but the tools are not there for him to move forward," said Shuler. "If the city council doesn't want to move forward, how can this police department move forward?"

It will, of course, be a transition once Chief Holbrook officially joins the department, but it's one many are ready for and willing to support.

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