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Mayor announces Charleston’s next police chief

Ross Norton //October 4, 2023//

Mayor announces Charleston’s next police chief

Ross Norton //October 4, 2023//

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Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said Chito Walker will be the city’s next police chief. The mayor made the announcement Oct. 4 during a press conference at Washington Square.

The Charleston City Council will vote to confirm Walker's appointment to chief on Oct. 10. (Photo/Provided)The Charleston City Council will vote to confirm Walker’s appointment during their next meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m., Oct. 10.  Walker was named interim chief in July after former Chief Luther Reynolds died in May following a battle with cancer.

A member of the Charleston Police Department since 2000, Walker has served in several capacities, including as patrolman, detective, SWAT team operator and supervisor. Promoted to deputy chief in March 2020, Walker served as deputy chief of the Procedural Justice and Community Policing Bureau, according to a news release from the city. 

“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,” Tecklenburg said in the release. “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.” 

The announcement marks the conclusion of the city’s formal search process led by the Police Executive Research Forum. 

Walker is a Greenville native and a graduate of South Carolina State University. He has a Bachelor of Arts from S.C. State in criminal justice and a master’s in management from Webster University, according to his police department biography. He is a graduate of the 260th session of the FBI National Academy, the 5th session of the Department of Homeland Security Leadership Academy, the 44th FBI National Executive Institute, the South Carolina Command College, and the 86th session of the Senior Management Institute for Police.

“Serving the citizens of Charleston as a member of the Charleston Police Department has been the honor of a lifetime, and I’m deeply grateful to Mayor Tecklenburg for entrusting me with this responsibility,” Walker said in the release. “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.”