CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston city council members held an executive session Monday where they were presented with the final chief of police candidates. The finalists were announced last week.
All five of the final candidates spent roughly 20 minutes interviewing with the city council as a part of their selection process. The candidates arrived at Gaillard Center Monday morning, after an informal breakfast, an executive session was called starting the interview process between Charleston City Council and each candidate.
Chief of the Fort Walton Beach Police Department in Florida, Robert Bage, was the first to interview. As one of the two candidates from out of state, he explained why he was led to this position.
“I’ve really seen Charleston progress in law enforcement, they are a true leader in law enforcement, that’s really what has driven me to come to an agency like this,” said Bage.
Bage said he has plans to grow the department if given the position of chief.
“I’d like to do more with mental health, I think mental health affects law enforcement across the country,” he said. “We should waste no opportunity to engage the community, the other thing is, engaging with the youth,” said Bage.
The second out-of-state candidate is Assistant Chief of the Sun Prarie Police Department in Wisconsin, Shunta Boston, she told News 2 that the act of service has led her to this line of work.
“Meeting every single need is the way that I see service, as far as what that would do to make me the next chief here at Charleston, it is just that I am concerned about every aspect of you as a human,” said Boston
Jason Bruder is currently a Captain at the Charleston Police D, he said he was inspired by Chief Reynolds and he hopes to continue the legacy Chief Reynolds left behind
“We’ve been focused on that community aspect, how do we implement body-worn cameras and all the other technology that’s out there into our responses and really try to make sure our officers are going to the calls they need to be going to,” said Bruder.
Interim chief of the CPD, Chito Walker, was one of the last to interview today, he said he wants to make educating officers a top priority.
“Education is a big part of that training, best practices, looking at what’s happening around the world and taking things that we could use and disregarding things that wouldn’t fit our community or culture,” said Walker.
Deputy chief of the CPD, Jack Weiss said Chief Reynolds set a standard for community engagement he wants to continue.
“Increase and grow our community engagement, by doing that I think we’ll be able to tackle the opioid crisis and deal with homelessness a lot better,” said Weiss.
It is now up to Mayor John Tecklenburg to recommend a candidate, there is no word on when that will happen.
Following their interview with the city council, each chief of police candidate went over to city hall and met with different city leaders and organizations.