Charleston’s Mayor-elect Amy Goodwin made a major announcement during a news conference inside of City Hall Thursday.
Three positions within the Charleston Police Department have been filled: Chief of Police, Deputy Chief of Police, and the reestablished position of Major.
20-year CPD veteran, Sgt. Opie Smith has been chosen to lead the department as Chief of Police. “It’s a big change,” Smith said, following the announcement. “It’s overwhelming. So many things to do in a short amount of time.”
According to a media release, Smith began in patrol and rose through the ranks, working as a field training officer, in the Special Enforcement Unit, and on the SWAT team. Prior to his appointment as Chief, Smith served the Department as Assistant Community Service Division Commander.
As for the Deputy Chief spot, Lt. Paul Perdue, a 19-year veteran of the department, will be taking over. Most recently, Perdue served as Public Services Commander, supervising Charleston’s Hybrid Unit and working closely with the public, heading up Neighborhood Watch Meetings, the Citizen’s Police Academy, and other community-focused programs.
“Community is important to us,” Perdue said. “That’s a very important aspect of this administration as well as administrations of the past. It means a lot for us to have that interaction and for us to have the ability to communicate and to get the feedback from them. All of that is to be able to serve the public the best way we can and to provide public safety.
The word ‘community’ was mentioned often during the announcement. Cpl. Jessi Redden’s position will focus on just that. Her title, Major of Community Outreach and Development, is new for the Charleston Police Department.
She said, “I think I can make a difference in the community in the community with new ideas. The Deputy Chief and the Chief and I, we share the same ideals. We all came from the Community Policing Bureau. We’ve dealt with the community and are very involved.”
Each of three, new, highest ranking officers within the Charleston Police Department say they’re ready to get started.
Smith is replacing current Chief of Police, Steve Cooper. Cooper is retiring from the department after 24 years.
The official swearing-in of these officers and other positions within the new administration will take place during Monday’s City Council Meeting.