City of Charleston welcomes back police chief after cancer treatment, amputation

Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 2:38 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2022 at 6:24 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston’s top cop is expressing gratitude for the support he has received since announcing a cancer diagnosis that required life-saving surgery.

Police Chief Luther Reynolds said Monday it is great to be back and that he is grateful to work with so many good people from his officers to the community to the mayor and city leaders.

“One of the many things that I’ve gotten out of this is a sensitivity of my own mortality,” he said. “Everybody’s on the clock in some form or fashion. Life is not permanent, and so I think living our lives with a purpose, with a meaning, with a passion, where we’re helping others, where we’re making a difference, where we’re able to say we left it better than how we found it; that’s kind of our core values here and the police department is service of others over self. And I really believe in that, and so in a really deep way, this has gotten my attention.”

He said he loves policing, he loves the city of Charleston and the team that he has built.

“We have a lot of work to do and I’m excited to be part of that,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds announced in early November that he had received the diagnosis the previous month, saying he had learned in early October that he was among the “1.9 million Americans to be diagnosed with cancer” in 2021. While he did not reveal specifics about his diagnosis, he committed to confronting the challenge head-on.

On Feb. 4, he released a statement saying he had been treated by “some of the world’s best surgeons at the MAYO Clinic in Minnesota” and had undergone “radical surgery” that required the amputation of one of his legs.

“I am pleased to report that the cancer was successfully removed and my prognosis for the future is very positive,” he said in the statement.

Reynolds said he couldn’t be more grateful for the support he received.

“It’s just been amazing how supportive people have been and how behind me that they’ve been,” he said. “It’s very unique, and I’m thankful for that.”

While he has resumed his duties, police say it will take some time before he returns to full-time status.

Reynolds said the experience has also made him think about ways the police department can help others who need it.

“I’m not unique in my suffering. I’m not the only one in this community or in our families that are suffering,” he said. “How do we help others? How do we bring healing? How do we bring unity? At a time when there’s a lot of division, how do we create more unity and togetherness?”

He said he is excited to continue to be part of that.

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