CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston leaders named Monday five finalists in the city’s search for a new chief of police.
A research firm, Police Executive Research Firm, has worked with the city to build a profile for ideal candidates and to comb through both local and national applicants before providing the city with a narrowed list for review.
It was learned last month that the research firm had received 34 applications and would work that down to approximately a dozen candidates for the city.
- Interim Police Chief Chito Walker has been working for the Charleston Police Department since 2000.
- Deputy Chief Jack Weiss joined Charleston PD in December 1997
- Captain Jason Bruder began working with the Charleston Police Department in 2002.
- Assistant Chief Shunta Boston – Sun Prairie Police Department in Wisconsin
- Police Chief Robert Bage – Fort Walton Beach Police Department in Fort Walton Beach, Florida
The five final candidates will meet with Mayor John Tecklenburg and members of City Council during a special meeting next Monday morning.
MEET THE CANDIDATES
Chito Walker has held his current role as Interim Chief of Police since July of this year. Chief Walker has served his entire 23-year career with the Charleston Police Department. Prior to his appointment as Interim Chief of Police, Chief Walker served as a Deputy Chief of two separate Bureaus – Operations from 2018 to 2021, and as the Commander of the Procedural Justice and Community Bureau from April 2021 until his appointment as Interim Chief of Police. Chief Walker began his police career serving 2 years as a patrol officer, and then as a member of the Special Operations (Safe Streets) unit for 4 years. He was a Detective in the Special Investigations Unit from 2006 to 2009, and as a Sergeant in Patrol, SWAT, and in Operations for three years. In 2012, Chief Walker was promoted to Lieutenant and served in the roles of Command Duty Officer, in Operations, SWAT, and Central Investigations until 2016. Chief Walker was promoted to Captain and commanded the Central Investigations Division from 2016 to 2017, then assigned as the Captain over West Patrol and Special Operations from 2017 to 2018. Interim Chief Walker led the Professional Standards Division from 2018 until his promotion to Deputy Chief in 2020.
Interim Chief Walker holds a Master of Arts degree in Management from Webster University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from South Carolina State University. He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy Session 260 in 2015, attended the Homeland Security Executive Leadership Academy in 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Executive Institute in 2022, and he is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police in 2023.
Jack Weiss is currently a Deputy Chief of Police with the Charleston Police Department. He has held this position since 2021. Deputy Chief Weiss has spent his entire 25-year career with the Charleston Police Department, joining as a patrol officer after completing training in the Maryland Police Corps program in 1997. He has served in multiple units through his career with CPD, including the Central Investigations Property Crimes and Burglary supervisor from 2009 to 2011, as a Command Duty Officer with the rank of Lieutenant in 2011 and 2012, four years as the Crimes Against Persons Commander to 2016, three years as the Captain in charge of Central Investigations to 2016, as the Patrol Division Commander at the rank of Captain from 2019 to his promotion to Deputy Chief in 2021. He is currently the Investigations Bureau Commander.
Deputy Chief Weiss holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Charleston Southern University and is a graduate of the 266th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in 2016.
Jason Bruder currently is the Commander over the Community Oriented Policing Division and has served with the Charleston Police Department for 21 years. Prior to joining CPD, Captain Bruder served as a Student Police Officer and an E-911 Telecommunicator with the Clemson University Police Department from 1999 to 2002. Captain Bruder served in Patrol from 2002 to 2006, as a Detective in the Narcotics Unit for two years, and 2008 to 2010 as a Senior Police Officer on the Records Management System and Computer-Aided Dispatch project teams. Captain Bruder was promoted to Sergeant in 2010 and over the 5 years in that rank he worked in the Field Intelligence Unit, as a Team Administrator, and overseeing the School Security Response Team. In 2015, Captain Bruder was promoted to Lieutenant and served as a Patrol Commander for West Ashley, in the Crime Information Operations Center, in Patrol Command for James and Johns Islands, and as Chief of Staff to former Chief Reynolds to June 2020. From 2020 to 2022, Captain Bruder served both as an Acting Captain and then was promoted to Captain while in the Special Operations Division. Captain Bruder assumed command over the Patrol Division in 2022 and held that position until his recent move to his current assignment. Captain Bruder also serves as chair of the Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
Captain Bruder earned a Master of Science degree in Homeland Security Management from Long Island University, and he has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Clemson University. Captain Bruder is a Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) scholar through the US Department of Justice, he attended the 279th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in 2020 and completed the Administrative Officers Management Program from NC State University in 2012.
Shunta Boston has served as the Assistant Chief with the Sun Prairie Police Department in
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison. She has held this role since 2021. Prior to joining
the Sun Prairie Police Department, Assistant Chief Boston served for nearly 26 years as a
member of the Milwaukee Wisconsin Police Department. Assistant Chief Boston was a patrol
officer for 6 years, promoted to Sergeant in 2001 and worked in Internal Affairs and the Patrol
Bureau. Assistant Chief Boston was promoted to Lieutenant in 2007 and through to 2015
commanded the Professional Standards Bureau, the Office of Management Analysis and
Planning, and served in the Patrol Bureau. Between 2015 and 2020, Assistant Chief Boston held
the rank of Captain. She was a Commander in the Patrol Bureau, the Criminal Investigation
Bureau Forensics Division, the Risk Management Inspections Division, and was the police
department’s Settlement Agreement Manager. Assistant Chief Boston continued her
management responsibilities over the Settlement Agreement after her promotion to Inspector in
2020 and she led the Administration Bureau until taking the position of Assistant Chief in Sun
Assistant Chief Boston is completing a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration and
Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in
Management in Criminal Justice from Concordia University, and an Associate of Science in
Criminal Justice from the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Chief Boston is a graduate of the
Senior Management Institute for Police.
Robert Bage currently serves as the police chief in Fort Walton, Florida and has held that role
since 2019. Before becoming the police chief in Fort Walton, Chief Bage served 20 years with the
North Miami Police Department, rising to the rank of Assistant Chief from his beginnings as a
patrol officer. In his capacity as a police officer from 1999 to 2003, Chief Bage worked in the
Uniform Patrol Section, Human Resources and Career Development, and the Community
Policing Unit. In 2003, Chief Bage was promoted to Sergeant and over the 6 years in that rank
he served as a Uniformed Patrol Supervisor and the Sergeant overseeing the Traffic Safety and
Marine Patrol Units. As a Lieutenant from 2009 to 2010, Chief Bage had responsibilities over
the SWAT unit and concurrently as the Uniformed Patrol Shift Commander. He was promoted
to Major in 2010 and over the 6 years in that rank, he spent 2 years in the Investigative Section
and 4 years over the Community Policing Section. As Assistant Chief, he was the Division Chief
over Investigations and Training from 2016 to 2018, and as the Field Operations Division Chief
from 2018 until he became Chief of Police in Fort Walton.
Chief Bage has a Master’s in Public Administration degree from Barry University, a Bachelor of
Arts degree in Psychology from Florida International University, he is a graduate of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation National Academy Session 248 in 2012, a graduate of the Senior
Management Institute of Police in 2016, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s
Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute Chief Executive Seminar in 2018. Chief Bage is
currently sitting as the second vice president for the Florida Police Chiefs Association, and he
serves as a Commissioner on the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission.
The search for a new department leader follows the May 2023 passing of Chief Luther Reynolds following a battle with a rare form of bone cancer.
Deputy Chief Chito Walker began serving as interim police chief over the summer.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said in June that he hoped to have a final candidate to present to city council by October.