Cayce’s new police chief is anything but new to the city he protects and serves. Chief Byron Snellgrove has lived in Cayce since 1990, and first worked for the city’s Department of Public Safety in 1997.
“As soon as I left Beaufort [in 1990], I moved into Cayce, and I’ve loved this town ever since,” Snellgrove said Monday as he welcomed Midlands Anchor into his new office. “When I first worked for this department, I set a goal for myself to be chief here one day, so it’s sort of a dream come true.”
Snellgrove’s career in law enforcement began almost 40 years ago, in October 1986, as a patrol deputy with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department. He moved quickly up the ranks there and eventually led one of the state’s first multi-jurisdictional narcotics units.
Moving to the Midlands in 1990, Snellgrove worked for the University of South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement and Safety, helping earn accreditation for that department. He joined the Cayce Department of Public Safety in April 1997, recruited by longtime Cayce Councilman Tim James. James also encouraged Snellgrove to make a move to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in 2001, where he served as Master Deputy for the multi-jurisdictional Narcotics Enforcement Team, then as Master Deputy in the Warrant Division for Lexington County. Snellgrove returned to the Cayce Department of Public Safety as Public Safety Sergeant in October 2012.
Snellgrove will be taking the place of Charles McNair, who retired after 16 years of service in Lexington County. “It’s not a hard transition,” he said. He said he knows the men and women of the department well, but added “It’s more important that they know me. They know what I expect going forward.”
“We need to grow as the city grows,” the new chief said Monday. He said he believes the relationship between his department and the community is strong, and making it even stronger is important. “We’re trying to keep the Mayberry image in the middle of a busy region,” he said.
Snellgrove said he realizes the new job brings a certain degree of pressure. “I’m in the spotlight now,” he said. “If things go well, I get the credit. If things go wrong, I get the blame.” He said his focus will be on leading the Public Safety Department, which encompasses both police and fire services for Cayce, and making the operation a thoroughly professional one.
City Manager Rebecca Vance said Snellgrove has the resume to fit the job. “As a Certified Internal Affairs Investigator, Police and Fire Instructor, and NRA Pistol Instructor, Byron Snellgrove has proven leadership skills and was the best choice for our city and community as our Public Safety Chief”, she said.
Snellgrove is also certified as an Emergency Response to Terrorism Instructor, Hazard Materials and Technician Instructor, and a Weapons of Mass Destructions Live Agent Instructor. He is also a former member of the University of South Carolina Pistol Team, former adviser of the South Carolina Association of Law Enforcement Explorers, and former State Secretary in SC Gang Investigators Associations.
“It’s a small town feel in a big town area. For me, it just feels right,” Snellgrove said. Asked about the best part of the new job, he did not hesitate. “For me, it’s leading a wonderful group of men and women in a wonderful town.”