More Drama Over Columbia Police Chief Search

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - There was more drama tonight over the search for a new Columbia police chief. Council members addressed concerned over allegations that the search process was tainted.

After a heated debate among council members and the chair of the police chief search committee some members are still questioning the process for a new top cop in Columbia.

"I am not comfortable at this point," said Councilman Sam Davis.

"I was not drunk, I did not tell him I picked the police chief," said search committee chair, Robert Bolchoz.

Council members were alerted about the allegation that search committee chair Robert Bolchoz was in a bar telling confidential information about the police chief search.

Bolchoz denied the allegations but says he did tell Larry Sypolt that interim chief Ruben Santiago did not make the final cut.

"I still stand by the process and I stand by the process that we put in place and I am satisfied with the candidates that moved forward," said City Manager Teresa Wilson.

Wilson says that none of the committee members fixed the process or was bias with their decision.

"I witnessed it and I stand behind the credibility that every single member individually put into it once they were tasked with the job."

Councilman Runyan talked about an email that Bolchoz sent the mayor months ago stating that no current or former Columbia police department employees should be considered for the job.

Bolchoz and Wilson stand by the fact that he did not use his personal beliefs in his decision.

The list of finalists has also dropped to four. Charles Rapp, the Executive Director for the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions dropped out of the race citing health issues.

Wilson says she is looking forward to still filling the position by the end of this month.

"I don't look at it with one lens, I look at it with the breath of information that has been given to me."

The city manager also informed the public that interim chief Santiago did make the final 12 candidates but didn't receive enough votes to make the final four.

The candidates will get to meet the residents in the city at a forum Wednesday night.


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