City of Charleston announces next chief of police

Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 1:02 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2023 at 3:28 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The city of Charleston on Wednesday announced who will lead Charleston Police.

The city announced Chito Walker would lose the interim tag and become the city’s next top cop.

In July, the city named Walker as interim police chief while they searched for a permanent replacement.

“I’d like to thank Chief Walker for his willingness to serve our city in this critical role and for his lifelong dedication to public safety,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said. “Charleston is blessed with the most outstanding police department in the nation, so it comes as no surprise that our next great Chief of Police is one of our own. I’m confident that Chief Walker’s strong leadership, clear vision and extensive experience make him a natural fit to lead the department, and I look forward to working with him to keep our city and our citizens safe.”

During Walker’s speech Wednesday, he said the last few months have been marked with grief and loss for the department. The city’s announcement comes after the passing of Chief Luther Reynolds. Reynolds died back in May from cancer at age 56 after serving as the city’s police chief for five years.

Walker said these challenges have also shown the department’s resilience and ability to overcome any roadblocks that come their way.

“I stand before you profoundly grateful, and deeply honored to have been selected as the Chief of Police of the Charleston Police Department,” Walker said. “This is a momentous day for me, an accumulation of my entire career spent serving this community.”

Walker has been with the Charleston Police Department since 2000 working as a patrolman, detective and member of the SWAT team. He was promoted to deputy chief in March 2020. He was serving as Deputy Chief of the Procedural Justice and Community Policing Bureau before being named Interim Chief of Police in July.

Walker said his first priority as Chief of Police will be increasing open dialogue and communication within the department.

“We got to be able to talk, we got to be able to communicate and know what our needs are, and there’s no way we can do it if I’m not talking to my internal staff, so that’s my first priority is collaboration with them,” Walker said.

He also said he is committed to the racial bias audit, and that a lot of the implementations from the audit have made the department a better place.

“Any business worth their gold completes an audit of themselves and an assessment, the police department is no different, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Walker said.

“I’m deeply grateful to Mayor Tecklenburg for entrusting me with this responsibility,” Walker said. “There’s no question that our department is home to the finest law enforcement professionals in the country, and I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve as its next leader. I look forward to continuing to work alongside the remarkable men and women of our department to build trust, promote transparency and keep our community safe.”

The city partnered with the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum.

The City Council will vote to confirm Walker as the next chief during Tuesday’s meeting.