By Nikki Gaskinsngaskins@abcnews4.com
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)For the first time Thursday, Mayor Keith Summey formally introduced North Charleston's newest police chief to city council.
Eddie Driggers will head the city's police department after Chief Jon Zumalt retires in January.
"I'm very proud to be able to offer this job to Eddie Driggers," Summey told council members Thursday. "I've known Eddie since my son and his were playing baseball together at Park Circle."
Driggers is currently a chaplain with Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy but a man with decades of experience in law enforcement.
"I was the administrator for the Charleston County Detention Center for two years. I ran the sheriff's office as the assistant," said Driggers.
Driggers, in a way, has come full circle, having got his start in 1975 with the same department he will soon lead.
"I intend to show my heart not only to the men and women who put their lives on the line daily because I've been there but to the citizens that we serve," said Driggers.
Critics, particularly the local branch of the NAACP, say the current chief's replacement comes much too soon.
"I think it's too fast. It relegates us back to the old antebellum days," said area branch president, Ed Bryant.
Bryant believes Mayor Summey failed to conduct a thorough search to replace Chief Jon Zumalt.
"I thought for a minute maybe we could get an opportunity to have a good committee, a good board, a good screening process and perhaps screen some minority members, Hispanics, as well as women," said Bryant.
Summey has responded to the criticism.
"I'm not going to waste $50,000 to do a national search when I got a man I know can do the job," Summey stated.
Summey says Driggers will begin work on January 1st with Zumalt providing guidance until his departure at the end of the month.
"One of the things that I'm known for in my administrative career was not making rash judgments or rash changes, to evaluate where we are, what works, what might not work--but overall what's best for the department and the community," said Driggers.
Along with his title of chief, Driggers will also become an ordained deacon at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on December 1st.