NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The city of North Charleston has a new police chief. Mayor Keith Summey announced Tuesday morning he is reorganizing the department. The changes move Assistant Chief Reggie Burgess to the head of the North Charleston Police Department.
Reggie Burgess was born and raised in the city of North Charleston and started with the police department as a rookie. He says that will play a big role in the way he handles the new job.
Burgess says, “I love this city, always have, and that’s the main goal my mother told me when we were talking when I was in college when I decided to come back home. She said, ‘If you come back home, you have to make a difference here.’ And that’s what I’ve been trying to do for 29 years.”
Burgess first started as a patrolman with NCPD in 1989 and was promoted to assistant chief in 2013. He says the key to lowering crime rates in the city is building a better partnership between law enforcement and the community.
He says, “We have to, with that partnership, work on reducing crime. Because if we have the community and the police working together, then we can reduce the crime because now we have communication.”
Burgess says after Walter Scott was shot and killed by NCPD Officer Michael Slager in 2015 some trust was lost with the community, but the North Charleston Police were still called upon and that trust can be restored.
He says, “Even after that incident in 2015, the radio kept going. The citizens kept calling. They said they had domestic problems, they had disturbance calls, they had burglaries. So I feel if they kept calling us, they felt like we were necessary.”
Burgess hopes to continue the trend of promoting from within to see other new officers grow in the department like he did.
He says, “I’m going to be working with them to give them the same light that I have right now because that’s exactly how it should be. If you come here as a police officer, you should always aspire to be better and do more.”
Burgess will be sworn in during Thursday night’s City Council meeting.
Former North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers will move into a new role as Special Assistant to the Mayor. According to Mayor Summey, his staff was overburdened with work and he decided to create a new position to lighten the load. Driggers will work as a liaison between the mayor, police department, fire department, and code enforcement.
Mayor Keith Summey says, “I will still be making all the final decisions, but any of the departments under him if they need information about getting ready for their budget, making orders, equipment they need, they will bring that information to Eddie, and Eddie will bring that information to me, and we will make the final decisions.”
Driggers says the choice to accept the job was not difficult because he wants to serve the city of North Charleston however he is most effective.