Rock Hill expects to name next police chief in January

adouglas@heraldonline.comNovember 15, 2012 

— Retiring Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory has two weeks left on the job but it’s not likely the city will have a new chief before Gregory leaves, said City Manager David Vehaun.

The city has moved as “quickly as we could have” to solicit applications, Vehaun said, and a new chief should be named in January 2013.

Gregory, 57, announced on Oct. 8 that he will retire on Dec. 1, after spending 40 years in law enforcement, including nine years as Rock Hill’s top cop.

Vehaun may name an interim chief for the month of December, he said, or he may decide to ask the department’s three police captains to assume leadership duties.

With the decision resting on his shoulders to choose Gregory’s successor, Vehaun heard from residents on Thursday night about what they’d like to see in a new police chief.

Many people named “personable” as a trait a police chief should have. Others said visibility at community meetings is important.

One man said Rock Hill should consider implementing a reserve officer program.

The program, Phil Keisel said, would put a resident with some training on patrol with police officers at night to increase the officer’s safety. Keisel participated in a reserve officer program in Marion County, Ind., and he said it could work in Rock Hill.

Thursday’s public forum follows meetings Vehaun’s had with Rock Hill’s police officers and staff and other city leaders.

Employees in the police department, Vehaun said, are happy with the direction Gregory’s set.

He said he expects many qualified applicants for the chief position will come from within the department.

Nov. 19 is the last day for residents to submit input on the hiring process online. A survey is available at www.cityofrockhill.com/survey.

A final public forum is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 6:30 at Rock Hill City Hall in the Council Chambers.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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