City 'Moves Forward' After Chief Resigns

'Exhaustive' national search for replacement begins

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- City of Columbia officials have already begun what they call the daunting task of finding a replacement for outgoing police chief Randy Scott, and they say they are anxious to move forward.

City manager for Columbia, Teresa Wilson, behind closed doors today at a budget meeting, continues damage control, in the wake of police Chief Randy Scott's sudden and unexpected resignation yesterday.
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"We will do the best we can to have an exhaustive search," said Wilson. "It is incumbent upon me that I, Mr. Baker and the senior staff ensure some expectation of the level of leadership, teamwork and how we work well together, internally, no matter who it is."

Scott says he wants the community's focus to be on public safety and the needs of each citizen.

"I want this Department to go back to work," said outgoing Scott. "I don't want the focus on Chief Scott."

The process to progress has begun for senior staffers to find a new top cop. For now, it's Ruben Santiago, a personal friend of Scott's who will continue as acting chief until scott's last day, May 1. Santiago's title then shifts to Interim Chief of Police.

Crime across the board has decreased significantly within the City over the last three years since Scott's been in charge. In fact, this is the first time in recent memory there have been no homicides in the first quarter of the year in the City of Columbia.

Santiago says he has big shoes to fill.

"Chief Scott has trained and mentored me 14 years, and I have seen first hand the good things we can do."

Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin is hopeful as officials move forward.

"We know we're in good hands with interim Chief Santiago."

Officials say they should have a better idea, within sixty (60) days, of who will lead the Department after Scott's departure.

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