NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - North Charleston's police department is about to be under new leadership.
Reggie Burgess, 52, is set to replace Eddie Driggers as the North Charleston Police Chief.
Driggers is expected to become an assistant to North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. Burgess will become the agency's ninth police chief at the North Charleston city council meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.
"Becoming the police chief of the City of North Charleston is truly a blessing," Burgess said in a statement posted to the city's Twitter account. "Mayor Summey has entrusted me to positively motivate, to influence, to lead and guide the police department personnel, and to improve the quality of life for the citizens of North Charleston."
Burgess takes over a department that was was embroiled in controversy after former officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott during a traffic stop in 2015.
"What we went through in 2015 was something that was out of our control. We had to weather the storm and we weathered that storm," Burgess told reporters Tuesday morning.
The new chief says he has a plan to reduce the city's murder rate.
North Charleston experienced a record 35 murders in 2015.
Burgess says he hopes to get the community to talk to the police.
"With that partnership, work on reducing crimes because if we have the community and the police working together then we can reduce the crime because we now have communication," Burgess said.
Burgess is a life-long resident of North Charleston and graduated from Bonds-Wilson/North Charleston High School in 1984. He joined the North Charleston police department as an entry-level patrolman in 1989. He was named assistant chief of the department in 2013.
"When I was a teenager, growing up in various neighborhoods in North Charleston, there was a television show called 'SWAT,'" Burgess said in a statement. "Although it was Hollywood fiction, the show created a spark for me to explore serving my community through police work, to protect all who felt victimized. I knew becoming a police officer would allow me to have a direct impact on improving my city and the neighborhoods where I grew up."
Driggers has led the force since 2012. He joined the North Charleston police department in 1975 as an officer and also spent time with the Charleston County police department (now the Charleston County Sheriff's Office).
"Calling on Eddie to become a Special Assistant to the Mayor allows him to continue to apply his years of public service experience, further strengthening my leadership staff," Summey said.
Driggers will be the mayor's liaison to the police, fire and code enforcement departments.