Sources: West Virginia police chief is top choice for CPD chief

William Holbrook (Source: City of Columbia)
William Holbrook (Source: City of Columbia)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Sources close to the situation indicates the City of Columbia's top choice for the vacant chief's position at the Columbia Police Department is a police chief from West Virginia.

Those sources says William Holbrook, the police chief at Huntington Police Department in West Virginia, is City Manager Teresa Wilson's top choice to take over CPD operations.

However, Wilson has not formally issued an offer to anyone yet.

Wilson had her pick in town on Friday to meet with other Midlands law enforcement officials including Lexington County Sheriff James Metts, Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins, SLED Chief Mark Keel, and several CPD officers.

We received Holbrook's application, resume, and cover letter from the city and found more about his history.

In his cover letter, Holbrook said he was confident his "skills and experience" were well-aligned with the City of Columbia's vision for the department.

"My experience, track record, collaborative attitude, and community focused leadership talents are exactly balanced for the needs of the City of Columbia and the Columbia Police Department," said Holbrook in the letter.

Holbrook has been the Huntington, West Virginia police chief since 2007, overseeing more than one hundred employees. The 49-year-old chief operates the Huntington Police Department with a $12 million budget. He has also helped his department receive $2.8 million in grants.

According to Holbrook's resume, crime reached a 27-year low while he was chief. He established several new units in the department, including an Office of Professional Standards. His current salary is $70,000 a year.

Holbrook graduated from Marshall University in West Virginia with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. He also has a master's degree in business administration from Pfeiffer University in North Carolina and graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Holbrook started his law enforcement career as a police officer at the Charlotte Police Department in 1987. He then moved on to work as a special agent with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for 12 years.

After three years of being self-employed in property development, Holbrook got back into public service and started his job as chief in Huntington.

Holbrook's list of honors includes the medal of merit for his work with the Charlotte Police Department, the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award by the West Virginia Association of Justice and the award for District Agent of the Year by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Holbrook's potential selection ends months of drama surrounding the city's top cop position after former Chief Randy Scott left citing a battle with PTSD.

Scott's departure made way for Interim Chief Ruben Santiago to take over, but former Police Capt. Dave Navarro lobbed serious charges against Santiago, claiming the interim chief was scheming to plant a gun and drugs in a city official's car to activate a chain of promotions that would lead to Santiago becoming the full-time chief.

Navarro was eventually let go from the force, but he later filed suit against the city and his allegations prompted a SLED and FBI investigation.

Neither investigation found enough cause to warrant charges against Santiago or Navarro, who the interim chief claimed had mishandled funds.

A formal announcement from City Manager Teresa Wilson is expected next week.

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