Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The search for a permanent chief of police at the Columbia Police Department has been put on hold pending the results of a SLED investigation, according to Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine.
The State Law Enforcement Division opened an investigation into the Columbia Police Department in July of 2013, when the leadership at the department first came under a microscope. This after former CPD officer David Navarro notified SLED about a "black opps" allegation.
Navarro says Interim Chief Ruben Santiago instructed him to take a stolen weapon and drugs so that they could plant it in a city employee's car.
Santiago denies those allegations.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin has previously told News19 that he asked SLED to conduct an investigation.
On Monday, Councilwoman Devine confirmed that City Council will wait to complete their search for the next police chief and said the City Manager, Teresa Wilson, has been in touch with SLED; however, at this point there is no timeline as to when the investigation will be complete.
Councilwoman Devine said there is a possibility that a search firm would be hired to help find the next chief and that two options were presented. One possibility is a firm that Charleston used, and the other is a firm that Spartanburg is currently using. So far no decision has been made on whether a firm will be used.
Devine says the council made the decision to wait for SLED's conclusion so that the investigation would not loom over the future chief.