Charleston Chief of Police Greg Mullen announces retirement

Charleston Chief of Police Greg Mullen announces retirement
Chief Mullen (Source: City of Charleston)
Chief Mullen (Source: City of Charleston)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - After 35 years in law enforcement and over 10 years as Charleston Chief of Police, Greg Mullen has announced plans to retire.

In a retirement letter submitted to Mayor John Tecklenburg on Monday, Mullen said it's time to transition into "a new segment of [his] life's journey" and allow a new chief to lead the department.

"The city is going through tremendous growth and change and it will need a chief to guide it through the next decade," he wrote. "As I assess the current status of the department, I feel that now is the perfect time for a transition to occur."

Mullen, 57, informed his staff of his decision Tuesday. He will leave the position on Aug. 1.

He was appointed Chief of Police of the Charleston Police Department in October 2006. A retired Air Force veteran, he started his law enforcement career in 1982 as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Mullen joined the Virginia Beach Police Department in 1985 and rose through the ranks to Deputy Chief of Police, according to the city.

Mullen has been instrumental in helping the police department with crime reduction, excellence in policing, community support and outreach and technology advancements, the city says.

Charleston City Councilman James Lewis says Mullen has done a good job going after the drug dealers.

"When he first came here, a lot of elderly people, especially in my district couldn't sit on their porches," Lewis said."They were afraid of the drug dealers."

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, a longtime friend of Mullen, says the chief was greatly affected by the massacre at Mother Emanuel Church.

"I think the Emanuel shooting was probably the most emotional thing that he has ever been involved in, that's true for a lot of people," Cannon said.

At the same time, the sheriff says Mullen showed his leadership the night of the shooting.

"His decision to open up a center facility for the family members of the victims, I think was an amazing first step in helping them deal with the horrific tragedy," Cannon said.

Charleston City Councilman Marvin Wagner says he's sad to see Mullen leave the department.

"You go downtown at midnight, you will see him," Wagner said."This guy's put his heart and soul into this job, very similar to Greenberg when he was chief."

Tecklenburg says a national search will be conducted to find Mullen's successor and released the following statement Tuesday:

Like all great police chiefs, Greg Mullen is more than an outstanding police officer. He's also an outstanding man. And, as I've had the privilege to learn over the past year and a half, a truly good friend.

For more than a decade, Chief Greg Mullen has led the Charleston Police Department with professionalism, dignity, compassion and grace. And he has done it while keeping our city secure, our citizens safe and our community united. 

Few police officers of Chief Mullen's generation have achieved so much -- and fewer still have done so while winning the near-universal admiration and respect of the city and citizens they serve. As I have often said, Chief Mullen has the head and the heart to get the job done, while building strong and enduring relationships with the community he’s sworn to protect.

But as the chief would be the first to tell you, great leaders cannot and do not exist in a vacuum. They are servants to, and a reflection of, the great organizations they lead. And for the last eleven years, Chief Mullen has had the honor of leading one of the finest groups of men and women ever to put on the uniform. 

Regardless of the task, the outstanding officers of the CPD have again and again risen to the challenge. Each and every day, they serve our city with honor and distinction. And thanks to their extraordinary dedication, Charleston remains one of the safest and most peaceful cities in America.

That's why, today, with Chief Mullen’s retirement, I am announcing a professional, wide-ranging national search for Charleston's next chief of police.  And working closely with City Council, community leaders and our citizens, I know that we will soon be welcoming an outstanding new police chief to our city -- one who's worthy of the great department they will be asked to lead, and ready on day one to keep our city safe, secure and peaceful in the years to come.

Read Mullen's full retirement letter here:

Read Mullen's full biography here:

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