City Manager on Holbrook: "He's a good man"

City leaders say he is the 'best candidate' to right wrongs of the past

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By Monique Williams

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson did not mince words about wanting to totally create what she calls a "new era of integrity and leadership" in hiring William Holbrook, which is a far cry from what she, city leaders and citizens have been used to over the last several years.

To talk about the new path the Columbia Police Department is embarking upon, you have to listen to the woman who chose the new man for the job.

Quoting those who worked with and knew William Holbrook best when he served as Chief of Police in Huntington, West Virginia, Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson is emphatic that incoming police chief William "Skip" Holbrook does not represent the kind of tainted, trifling and tumultuous law enforcement leadership the capital city and it citizens have been used to in recent decades.

"You'll never have to wonder where he stands," she said quoting former employees, friends and associates of Holbrook.

In fact, over the last 37 years, according to one City of Columbia insider, Columbia has seen seventeen police chiefs in some capacity. That's an average of a new chief almost every two years.
That, Wilson says, is old news.

She says those who knew Holbrook prior to coming to Columbia say "he believes in open dialogue and is both spiritual and civic. He leads from the front and is proactive not reactive. He is a good man.

State and federal investigations into allegations of sabotage, espionage, sexual immorality, specifically, infighting between two former chiefs, a former captain and former subordinate employee who recently filed a lawsuit have destroyed public trust and nearly killed department morale, says Wilson.

Holbrook has also noticed.

"I've followed along all the craziness that's gone on."

Wilson is looking to Skip Holbrook to right the wrongs of the past, quoting again those who worked with him.

"'He has the intelligence and moral fortitude to do the job and will never embarrass you. He is a good man.'"

"You'll never see what's happen before happen again on my watch," said Holbrook.

The new chief stressed his allegiance is to Wilson as city manager, not members of council. He wouldn't say if most recent acting chief Melron Kelly would become second in command, or whether any officer will keep his/her current position.

The new chief went on to say he has a five year strategic plan to get the Department running properly again, claiming he will establish a "major world class police department with world class influence."

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