North Charleston names Reggie Burgess new police chief, Driggers moving to role with mayor

Reggie Burgess (WCIV)

(WCIV) -- North Charleston officials announced Tuesday morning Chief of Police Eddie Driggers will be moving into an administrative role with the city under Mayor Keith Summey. Meanwhile, a city spokesman says North Charleston has hired longtime NCPD officer and current assistant chief Reggie Burgess as its new police chief.

Driggers will serve as special assistant to the mayor, according to a news release from North Charleston officials provided Tuesday.

Burgess, 52, will be sworn in at the North Charleston City Council meeting Thursday, according to city spokesman Ryan Johnson.

Burgess has lived in North Charleston all his life, and joined the North Charleston Police Department as a patrolman in 1989, according to Johnson. Burgess was named assistant chief in 2013.

Driggers, meanwhile, took over as NCPD police chief in January 2013. Driggers started his career with the NCPD, before rising to rank of chief deputy with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, according to Johnson

Driggers leaving the police department comes after a tumultuous few years for North Charleston, headlined by a sudden drastic spike in the number of homicides, and the nationally scrutinized case of ex-NCPD officer Michael Slager fatally shooting and killing unarmed black man Walter Scott in 2015.

The city had a new record of 35 homicides in 2017, surpassing a previous highwater mark of 32 set the year prior in 2016. There were only 19 in the city in 2015.

Recently, Chief Driggers had been working to put a bow on a federal audit of the NCPD's policing practices and standards through the U.S. Justice Dept.'s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Driggers asked for the review in the aftermath of the Walter Scott incident, following suit with cities including Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri.

Those cities requested and were granted the reviews by the DOJ under the Obama administration following high-profile deaths of unarmed citizens at the hands of police.

However, the audit was nixed midstream by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in September 2017, just as findings were expected to be released. Reviews of local police departments, Sessions said, were outside the COPS program's scope of authority.

This is a developing story, and will be updated.

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