Darlington police chief ends double duty of supervising Fire Department as well

After 18 months of supervising the city of Darlington’s police and fire departments, Public Safety Director Kelvin Washington has decided to put down one of his two jobs.

Effective June 30, Washington has stepped down from his supervisory duties at the Darlington Fire Department. He remains the city’s police chief and plans to focus entirely on law enforcement, as he did before being named public safety director in January 2019. Pat Cavanaugh will remain the city’s fire chief.

“I feel the need to spend more time strengthening our relationship between our Police Department and our community,” Washington said in a June 3 letter to City Manager Howard Garland.

In the letter, not made available to news media until City Council’s July 7 meeting, Washington said he expected to face “greater law-enforcement demands” as a result of “ongoing activities around our country pertaining to policing and our profession.”

Washington praised Cavanaugh for his leadership of the Fire Department, calling him a “hard-working, motivated, committed fire chief (who) is more than capable of continuing to move the Fire Department forward without my oversight.”

Darlington City Council created the position of public safety director 18 months ago when council members appointed Washington to the post. The action was taken in executive session and council never explained publicly why Washington was given supervision of the Fire Department, saying it involved a “personnel matter” that was legally confidential.

Author: Rachel Howell

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