Plan to Merge Police, Sheriff's Dept. Dropped

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A proposal to put the Columbia Police Department under the control of Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has been dropped.

The city council voted unanimously Wednesday to allow City Manager Teresa Wilson to continue the search for a new police chief, ending the discussion on the matter.

Councilman Cameron Runyan held a news conference Monday stating he felt Lott should be put in charge of the city's police force, saying the agency needs stability. He also said Wilson should stop the process of looking for a new chief to consider the idea.

Councilmembers then called a special meeting for Wednesday to debate the issue.

However, it was clear the idea lacked support, as Councilmembers Tameika Isaac Devine and Moe Baddourah said Monday they didn't support the plan, and wanted the city to select a new chief. The special meeting began with Councilmember Brian DeQuincey Newman also saying he rejected the notion of consolidating the law enforcement agencies.

After commenting that the civility of the council needed to improve, Runyan then withdrew his proposal at the meeting and motioned for the council adopt a resolution asking the city manager to resume her search.

City officials told News19 Wilson has narrowed her list of finalists for the job to two candidates, and could make her selection by next week. Columbia has been without a permanent police chief since Randy Scott stepped down last April.


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