Gov. McMaster names new leader for the SC Dept. of Public Safety

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster announced on Wednesday a new leader for the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Robert G. Woods, IV has been serving as the acting director of SCDPS since February and is a 29-year veteran of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

During that time with the SCDPS, Woods has worked to increase department communication, improve employee morale, and implemented data-driven programs to create safer highways.

In the new role, he plans to strengthen relationships with state and local law enforcement leaders and increase recruitment and retention efforts.

“Nobody is better suited to lead the South Carolina Department of Public Safety than Mr. Woods,“ said Gov. McMaster. “His proven ability to lead and solve complex problems through innovative policy decisions and public outreach will continue to serve South Carolina well and will help the agency maintain its status as one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country.”

Woods is a 1988 graduate of The Citadel and holds a master’s degree in Human Relations and Conflict Management from Columbia College. He is also a graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Leadership Institute and holds a Certified Public Manager Credential. 

“Serving as Director of SCDPS was something I would have never imagined during my time with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, but serving this department and my state in an interim director capacity has truly been one of the greatest privileges of my career,” Woods said. “My primary goal has been to stabilize the department and break down any barriers leading to inefficiencies so that our personnel are energized and excited about their jobs and the challenge of serving this state’s citizens with excellence.” 

He went on to say, “The SC Department of Public Safety cannot be the DPS of 20 years ago. We must take advantage of technology, equipment and training to ensure the safety of our law enforcement and in turn the safety of the citizens and visitors to our state.”

Woods said it’s time to provide law enforcement and civilian support personnel with sound training and “empower our employees to lead as we tackle the challenges of 21st century policing.”

The governor’s nomination is subject to Senate approval. 

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