The city of Chester has hired a new police chief.
Eric Williams, 46, a South Carolina probation and parole agent and former chief of police in Kingstree, will start Dec. 4, said Cara Roof, human resources director in Chester.
Chester City Council voted earlier this month to hire Williams after a months-long search. The last permanent chief, Tammy Levister, resigned in 2016 and the department had been run for most of 2016 by interim chief Travis Moore, a longtime Chester command staff officer. The chief before Levister, Andre Williams, resigned to become the chief of security for Chester County Schools. Andre Williams at times clashed with city council and city staff over how he ran the department.
Chester has about 6,000 residents.
Chester’s new police chief, Eric Williams, is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. He has attended leadership and continuing education programs in South Carolina and with the FBI, and has served in a command role with the Salisbury, N.C., and Stallings, N.C., police departments. Before that, Williams was a federal air marshal with the Department of Homeland Security and chief of police in East Spencer, N.C.
Chester City Councilman Carlos Williams, no relation to the new police chief, said he and others are looking forward to Eric Williams coming to Chester.
“I was looking for leadership and believe that the new chief can lead the department and focus on the safety of the public,” Carlos Williams said. “He has leadership experience.”
Eric Williams, said he is excited to get to Chester and do a full and fair assessment of the department.
“I am the type of person who rolls up his sleeves and gets to it,” Williams said in a phone interview. “I want to meet the people in the department.”
The new chief said he will run a pro-active department, not a reactive department. The goal is to deter crime and serve the public, yet conduct thorough investigations when crimes do happen. Eric Williams said he wants the public in Chester to know his department both protects and serves them.
“The department will let the community know that we are fully engaged with them,” Eric Williams said.
Williams exact salary has not been released but the range for the job is $53,000-$69,000, Roof said.