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Orangeburg's Department of Public Safety has a new leader in charge

Chief Charles Austin started his first day as the interim director of Orangeburg Department of Public Safety on October 1st.
Credit: Devin Johnson

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The City of Orangeburg's Department of Public Safety on Friday welcomed a face many in the Midlands may be familiar with. 

Dr. Austin was Columbia's first black police chief and also served as Columbia's city manager.  

"I had a conversation with the city administrator, and we talked about the need to fill the void of Chief Adams retiring," said Chief Charles P. Austin, Interim Director for Orangeburg Department of Public Safety.

Chief Charles Austin was named the interim director of public safety during a special called meeting on Wednesday to replace former Chief Mike Adams. 

RELATED: Orangeburg public safety chief retires, Charles Austin named interim director

Austin says he focused on engaging with residents to help reduce crime in the area.

"I'm a firm believer that community equity policing is a solution that allows us to engage the community as partners to address crime issues," Austin said.

Orangeburg's newest director of public safety says he will also be collaborating with other surrounding law enforcement agencies to make some adjustments.

Credit: Devin Johnson

"We will discuss best practices that are in place and how we can deploy those strategies to address the crime issues," said Austin.

Chief Austin says he's still on Richland county's election commission. He believes that shouldn't get in the way of his new position.

"The elections commission meets once a month," Austin explained. "That's not a job; it's a civic duty that I serve, and I don't see it being a conflict."

RELATED: Orangeburg County School District's 'Grow' program to combat teacher shortage