Residents say retiring chief made streets safer

Residents credit outgoing chief for safer streets

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's a title no city wants: America's Most Dangerous.

North Charleston was ranked in the "City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America" report several times over the past decade.  It's a designation outgoing Chief Jon Zumalt sought to change.

"When I got here [Mayor Keith Summey] said, 'develop the command,' and we have good, professional commanders and 'get crime down' and those were really the main objectives he wanted me to do," Chief Zumalt said.

Now after 11 years as the chief of the North Charleston Police Department, Zumalt is retiring on Jan. 31, 2013.

Zumalt announced his retirement during a press conference on Monday and said that he had been talking about his retirement with Mayor Keith Summey for some time.

"He and I have been talking about this after his election," Zumalt said. "I told him that I wouldn't likely be here through this term. We talked about what the best timing would be, both for the city and the police department."

Zumalt said that the timing is best now for him to retire and that he is excited since he says he has not had a day off for 11 years.

"I've cared about this city and I still care about this city, "Zumalt said. "It's an exciting time for me."

"He has made us, in my estimation, the most professional department in the state of South Carolina," Mayor Summey said. "Jon has been an inspiration, not only to this department, but his engagement working with other departments in the area."

Zumalt sent the following letter to Mayor Keith Summey on Monday:

This memo is to notify you of my decision to retire from my position as Chief of Police for the City of North Charleston. We have discussed my decision and have both agreed that January 13, 2013 is adequate for your planning.

I am grateful to you both personally and professionally for allowing me the privilege to serve as your Police Chief for the past 11 years. You have been an excellent boss, mentor and friend and you have allowed me the freedom to do my job to the best of my abilities. You and the City Council have supported me in good times and tough times and together we have made the City of North Charleston a safer place to live.

I leave you with a proud and professional police agency that has reduced crime and gained the trust and respect of the people that live and work in your City. I wish you, City Council, the Police Department and the City of North Charleston a prosperous future.

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