The Columbia Police Department on Thursday celebrated the largest group of promoted officers in Chief Skip Holbrook’s time in office, and took time to thank a man who helped make sure one of their own wasn’t lost.
56 men and women received their honors, took the oath of office administered by Judge Dana Turner, and participated in a badge pinning ceremony.
“These promotees represent some of the very best we have to offer — our newest leaders,” Holbrook said. “This is a defining moment for the Columbia Police Department. It’s about moving our agency from good to great. These new leaders will be instrumental in shaping the future of the CPD and blazing a trail for the officers that follow them.”
CPD contracted with the College of Charleston’s Joseph P. Riley Jr., Center of Livable Communities to develop a new process for promotions, including written subject matter tests and oral review boards/assessment panels. The panel working on the new process spoke to CPD commanders about the traditions, beliefs and expectations at the department.
The promotees attended an orientation workshop, completed tests and answered the panel’s questions. In all, 142 officers began the process. At the conclusion, final scores were tabulated and a list of eligible candidates for each rank was established based on highest to lowest test scores.
“This is an accomplishment you should be extremely proud of,” Holbrook told the newly promoted officers. “You earned it. But let’s be clear, your work is just beginning.”
Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins and representatives from the South Carolina State Guard and South Carolina Highway Patrol were on hand to congratulate the officers.
The ceremony also included the presentation of a special award to David Brown. Brown, a paramedic, was off duty May 24 when he became stuck in traffic after Officer Peter Conklin was hit by a car and critically injured while working a wreck on I-126.
“You see how God works,” Deputy Chief Melron Kelly said of Brown’s presence moments after Conklin was hurt. Brown saw that someone was injured and rushed to Conklin’s side, administering first aid including applying a tourniquet which helped keep Conklin alive. Conklin was on hand for the promotion ceremony, and he and Brown both received standing ovations from the crowd of officers, family and friends.
Pictured: the newly promoted officers (photo by Allen Wallace)
Full list of promoted officers
Christopher B. Williams
The promotees will begin their new assignments in August.