Charleston Police chief announces he will enter hospice care
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The police chief for the city of Charleston shared an open letter with the community Wednesday saying he has decided to end cancer treatment and enter hospice care.
“After speaking with my doctors and praying for God’s guidance and grace, Caroline and I have decided that the time has come for me to end my cancer treatments and enter hospice care,” the letter from Police Chief Luther Reynolds begins.
Reynolds said by sharing his family’s decision publicly, they hope they can also share with other families facing similar situations “some small measure of the love and support we’ve received over the past two years.”
“Now, as I set out on the final journey that God has planned for me, I’m thankful that I will be able to spend these days in the city I’ve come to love, surrounded by family and friends. It is the last great gift in a life that’s been full of them,” Reynolds wrote.
Colleagues of Chief Reynolds said he stands out as someone committed to public service who has the integrity needed to run a police department.
Council Member Peter Shahid said Reynolds is always looking for ways to make the department better and more responsive to the community.
“You looked at this man, who was just a picture of health, and for him to have to go through this.. And he took it with grace, every step of the way,” Shahid said. “I know that this journey that he is going through, he is not going through it alone, we are with him on this.”
Council Member Mike Seekings said Reynolds brought forward the idea that policing is something the entire community can do together, unifying the community during tough times.
“He is a personable person, a person who can relate to just about anybody, and he brought that to the community and that allowed people to come together and not apart when it comes to policing,” Seekings said.
Former North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess said he and Reynolds formed one of the closest law enforcement partnerships he’s ever had, adding Reynolds is the type of guy that would do anything for you.
“He’s that guy that whenever you need him, he seems to always be there and even when you don’t, he always reaches out,” Burgess said.
State Rep. Wendell Gilliard said Reynolds did a lot in the community to fight crime, and worked with legislation to help the homeless population.
“I don’t have anything but kudos to give to the police chief,” Gilliard said.
Mayor John Tecklenburg named Reynolds as Charleston’s new police chief in March of 2018.
He shared a diagnosis of cancer in November of 2021, saying he was diagnosed early the previous month and said he would undergo a “rigorous treatment plan” that would include surgery and chemotherapy.
In February of 2022, he announced he would return to his job after losing a leg to cancer.
“As you know, I was diagnosed with a very serious and rare form of cancer. I was treated by some of the world’s best surgeons at the MAYO clinic in Minnesota,” he said in a statement at that time. “However, I underwent a radical surgery and, in order to remove the cancer, the doctors had to amputate one of my legs. I am pleased to report that the cancer was successfully removed and my prognosis for the future is very positive.”
He returned to the job on Feb. 28 of last year, saying it was great to be back and he was grateful to work with “so many good people from his officers to the community to the mayor and city leaders.”
Read his full message here:
My Fellow Charlestonians,
After speaking with my doctors and praying for God’s guidance and grace, Caroline and I have decided that the time has come for me to end my cancer treatments and enter hospice care.
Such decisions are never easy, of course -- not for our family, and not for all the other families in our community who have to face them every day. It is our hope that by sharing this news publicly, we can also share with these other families some small measure of the love and support we’ve received over the past two years. We want them to know that in these difficult moments, they are not alone, and that our larger Charleston family prays for them as well.
In closing, I’d like to thank you, our citizens, for giving me the opportunity to serve as your police chief. Five years ago, you welcomed me and my family into this remarkable city, and with your support, we have built an even better, even stronger police department. I cannot tell you how proud I am of the men and women of CPD, and how honored I am to have led them.
Now, as I set out on the final journey that God has planned for me, I’m thankful that I will be able to spend these days in the city I’ve come to love, surrounded by family and friends. It is the last great gift in a life that’s been full of them.
Thank you, and God bless.
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