N. Charleston police chief announces retirement

After five years, the head of the North Charleston Police Department is stepping away from the role.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 2:00 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2023 at 7:48 PM EDT

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After five years, the head of the North Charleston Police Department is stepping away from the role.

Police Chief Reggie Burgess said he will retire as police chief effective May 1.

Burgess took over the position in 2018. He served as a police officer before that for 34 years. In the past year, violent crime in the city has gone down by 12%, with department heads attributing that to community policing.

“I have walked the streets of this amazing and dynamic city to make myself available to all, to build bonds and to show that all great things can be accomplished through when we work together,” Burgess said in the Thursday announcement.

The retiring police chief did not say what is next for him but did say details of how he plans to work for North Charleston “are coming soon.”

It is rumored that Burgess may be running for mayor of North Charleston. Current Mayor Keith Summey, who is not seeking reelection, named Burgess as the person he would like to succeed him as mayor.

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Speaking to reporters at the celebration of former Fort Dorchester High School defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Burgess explained his vision for the city should he be elected mayor.

“I will definitely serve to the best of my ability at all times,” Burgess said. “You don’t have to come to me. I’ll go to you, and that’s the thing about me. I’m a people person. I’m a community person, but I am a manager. I’m a director, and I’m a strategist, and I know you guys have seen a lot of things we’ve done. I’ve innovated a lot of things in the North Charleston Police Department, and I will continue to do that.”

Burgess has not announced whether or not he will be running for the mayor’s office this fall.

When asked about why people should vote for him as the next mayor, Burgess said, “I believe I can do the job the citizens need because I want to take the communities and bring the communities together, so that what we can learn – a challenged community can learn from Park Circle. How do you turn yourself around? A challenged community can learn from Coosaw Creek. How can you learn from your community? I want to connect those communities, so they can be thoroughly immersed on how other neighborhoods are flourishing and how they can lift themselves.”

Summey released the following statement hours after Burgess announced his retirement:

I am happy to join the community in celebrating Chief Reggie Burgess and his esteemed career. Chief Burgess has been a dedicated public servant for almost 34 years, and we are grateful for his commitment to the City of North Charleston.

As Chief of Police, Reggie has led the department with distinction and honor, and his passion for serving the community has been an inspiration to us all. He has worked tirelessly to build bridges and trust between the department and the citizens of North Charleston. We look forward to the future contributions of Chief Burgess.

On behalf of City Council and the citizens of North Charleston, I extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Chief Burgess on his upcoming retirement. We are grateful for his many years of service and the legacy he leaves behind.

In his retirement announcement, Burgess expressed gratitude to Summey, city council and the people of North Charleston for their support and trust over the years.

“While I am thankful for every day that I have served our community, Mayor Summey has shown me that there are often other important ways to serve, and I have given that great thought,” Burgess said. “As my time as chief comes to an end, I know that this position will not be my final destination.”

Burgess said he will be working with the mayor and leaders in the police department on a smooth transition to his eventual successor.

The full announcement can be found below: