Darlington police chief retiring at end of year

Kelvin Washington in 2018. FILE PHOTO

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

If things go as Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington hopes, he will end his law-enforcement career Dec. 31 of this year, then a few days later step into a totally different kind of job as Williamsburg County supervisor.
Washington, Darlington’s police chief since 2018, told the News & Press he plans to retire when his contract expires Dec. 31, 2022. He is also planning a race for supervisor (the term “administrator” is more common) of Williamsburg County, where he makes his home; he has commuted to Darlington since being hired as police chief.
Williamsburg is one of a handful of S.C. counties where county supervisor/administrator is an elected office, Washington said. The primary election for the post is June 14, he said, with the general election in November. If Washington succeeds, he will exit his job as Darlington’s top law-enforcement officer on the last day of 2022, then begin work as Williamsburg’s supervisor in the first days of 2023.
Win or lose, Washington plans to end his 32-year career in law enforcement when he leaves the Darlington job.
“I’ve had an amazing career,” said Washington, who was Williamsburg County sheriff for 12 years and served as U.S. Marshal for the District of South Carolina, a position appointed by the president. In 2020, he became president of the S.C. Police Chiefs Association.
“I’ve truly enjoyed my time with the City of Darlington,” he said. He thanked Mayor Curtis Boyd, former mayor Gloria Hines and City Council for their support during his tenure.
Washington said news of his retirement plans should not surprise anyone in city government. “I told them when I arrived here that I was going to stay at least five years,” he said. By the end of 2022, he should be close to the five-year mark. He said he recently reiterated his retirement plans to the city manager.
The chief said he wanted to give the city a great deal of time to find a successor and have that person in place before he leaves. “They’ll have plenty of time,” he said.
Washington said he didn’t want even the chance of a prolonged “gap” between police chiefs, such as the several-month period between the exit of former city manager Howard Garland and the entrance of new manager John Payne. That was a difficult time for city officials, as they had to search for a new manager while running city government without the former one.

Author: Stephan Drew

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