NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess will retire on May 1 of this year.
Mayor Keith Summey, who recently announced he would not seek reelection, first told News 2 on Thursday morning that Chief Burgess planned to retire in just a few weeks.
Burgess, who marked five years as the department’s leader in January, was named police chief in 2018 after taking over for Eddie Driggers when he became special assistant to the mayor.
A native of North Charleston, Burgess grew up in Union Heights and Liberty Hill, two historical neighborhoods. He graduated from Bonds Wilson / North Charleston High School in 1984 and went on to attend Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.
According to the city’s website, Burgess decided on a career in law enforcement at NCPD in 1989. Starting out as a corporal in 1993, he rose through the ranks, served in various capacities, and was eventually named assistant police chief in 2013.
“My first promotion happened in 1992-1993,” Chief Burgess said during a Jan. 11 interview. “I got promoted to corporal. And when I got promoted to corporal, I’m a college kid, so when they promoted me to corporal, I didn’t know what in the world that was.”
A focus for the police chief has always been what he calls “community policing.”
“I’ve evolved into the person that I think that I need to be,” he said. “A person that cares about folks, a person that’s willing to listen to people, and a person that’s willing to step up to deal with issues instead of running away from them.”
Burgess married his high school sweetheart and former Bonds Wilson / North Charleston High 1984 Homecoming Queen, Tracy Burgess,” according to a bio posted to the city’s website. “They are the proud parents of Reggie Burgess II and Kristen Burgess,” the website noted.
But what is next for the North Charleston chief? Burgess recently hinted at a possible run for mayor of North Charleston during an interview with News 2 earlier this year. Burgess said he would consider the run if the city’s longtime mayor, Keith Summey, did not seek reelection.
“If the citizens of North Charleston want me to be the mayor, and Mayor Keith Summey does not run, Reggie Burgess will run,” he said.
Summey later announced he would not run for the office again; however, Burgess has not publicly said if he intends to seek that office. Burgess said an announcement may come at some point in the future.
Burgess is the North Charleston Police Department’s ninth police chief since the city was incorporated in 1972.
After officially announcing his retirement Thursday afternoon, Burgess shared the following:
“I have proudly served the people of the City of North Charleston as a police officer
for nearly 34 years. During that time, I have walked the streets of this amazing and
dynamic city to make myself available to all, to build bonds, and to show that all
great things can be accomplished through when we work together.
In 2018, I was given the privilege of leading the North Charleston Police Department
as Chief of Police. Since that day, I have remained committed to my promise to
serve and protect every citizen of this city that I love, grew up in, and call home.
While I am thankful for every day that I have served our community, Mayor
Summey has shown me that there are often other important ways to serve, and I
have given that great thought. As my time as Chief comes to an end, I know that
this position will not be my final destination.
Today, I am announcing, my retirement as Police Chief effective May 1, 2023.
Together with Mayor Summey and my department leadership team, I will be
working to ensure a smooth transition within the Police Department. With the
depth and quality of our top-level leaders, I am confident that this department will
continue to serve and grow under my successor.
I am sure some will also ask of my long-term goal. Details of how I hope to work
on behalf of the people of North Charleston will come very soon.
I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Mayor Summey, City
Council, and most importantly, the people / citizens of North Charleston. You all
have given me the opportunity to serve and accomplish so much in my 34 years
with the North Charleston Police Department and I want to thank you all for your
support and trust over the years.”
Mayor Summey released the following statement in response to Burgess’s retirement announcement:
“I am happy to join the community in celebrating Chief Reggie Burgess and his esteemed career. Chief Burgess has been a dedicated public servant for almost 34 years, and we are grateful for his commitment to the City of North Charleston.
As Chief of Police, Reggie has led the department with distinction and honor, and his passion for serving the community has been an inspiration to us all. He has worked tirelessly to build bridges and trust between the department and the citizens of North Charleston. We look forward to the future contributions of Chief Burgess.
On behalf of City Council and the citizens of North Charleston, I extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Chief Burgess on his upcoming retirement. We are grateful for his many years of service and the legacy he leaves behind.”