HANAHAN, S.C. (WCBD) – A captain with the Summerville Police Department will soon take over a chief in Hanahan.
Capt. Rick Gebhardt will be sworn in as Hanahan’s new chief of police next month.
“I’m originally from a small city called Keene, New Hampshire. I lived there for my entire childhood- joined the military and I was fortunate enough to have them station me here in Charleston, South Carolina back in 1998. When I got out of the military, I began my civilian law enforcement career, and I joined Summerville where I’ve been for the last 16 years,” he said.
Gebhardt says helping keep the community safe is sort of the family business.
“When I was growing up my uncle was a sergeant in my hometown police department. He retired as a captain. My grandfather was a law enforcement officer when he was younger, and it was just something that I was drawn to immediately, seeing them help the community, serve the public, and make the community I lived in safer,” said Gebhardt.
Now, he’s ready to lead the City of Hanahan’s police department.
“Lots going through my mind. It’s going to be a rewarding experience. All of the experience I’ve gotten from Summerville — we’ve got a lot of good things going on here right now that I want to take to the city of Hanahan and continue to make that city thrive.”
And one of his top priorities:
“Well, like any law enforcement agency, I think the biggest concern right now is recruitment and retention. We see this all over the state of South Carolina and my goal is to make Hanahan a stable place for all law enforcement officers to work,” he said.
Gebhardt said he plans to attract officers by maintaining a strong community connection while helping officers improve themselves.
“I want to continue building on the phenomenal relationship that the Hanahan Police Department has with the Hanahan community. I know it’s a really close-knit community where everybody knows each other. I want to continue to build on that. Also, want to bring a wellness program to the police department to help make the officers well,” he said.
He wants officers to work to improve themselves physically, mentally, financially and spiritually.
“You want to keep all of those pillars as stable as possible because a healthy and stable police department helps keep the community safe,” Gebhardt said.
Gebhardt officially begins his new job as police chief in Hanahan on October 9th.