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Huntington Chief Of Police Announced As Columbia, S.C. Chief; Committee To Find Replacement Assembled

Reported: Mar. 21, 2014 2:05 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 21, 2014 6:01 PM EDT

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- It's the end of one chapter for Huntington residents, but the beginning of another.

"Now let's make it real clear. We will never have another Skip Holbrook, nor should we, but we will have somebody who will come in and take us to the level that we know and expect to attain," Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said.

Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook is resigning to take over the Columbia, South Carolina police department next month. Holbrook turned in his resignation to Williams Thursday.

"The advantage that we have is that we know the type of person who we need to attract into Huntington," Williams said.

Holbrook was sworn-in back in 2007 and has spearheaded the fight against ongoing drug problems in Huntington.

"We've got to disrupt the distribution angle of drug trafficking, and I think we've been very successful and very innovative in how we've done that, but we've still got to forge ahead," Holbrook said during a conference call with media Friday morning.

Williams appointed former HPD officer Jim Johnson as interim chief. He's currently a constituents liaison for the mayor's office. Johnson is also part of a ten-member committee to help select a new chief. He and Brandi Jacobs-Jones, director of administration and finance for the City of Huntington, will be ex-officio members.

Other members are:
- Mark Bates, Huntington City Council chairman.
- Kenny Burner, retired West Virginia State Police trooper; deputy director of the Appalachia High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
- Cathy Burns, president and CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce.
- Layton Cottrill, general counsel and senior vice president for executive affairs at Marshall University.
- The Rev. Reginald Hill, pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.
- Randy Moore, vice president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO; subdistrict director of the United Steelworkers of America.
- Dan O’Hanlon, retired Cabell Circuit Court judge (committee chairman).
- Donna Rumbaugh, president of the Neighborhood Institute of Huntington; owner of Perennial Favorites Greenhouse.
- David Tyson, attorney, Tyson & Tyson Law Firm.
- Joseph L. Williams Jr., chairman and CEO of Basic Supply Company, Inc.; former Huntington mayor.

"We aren't going to settle. We go for the best, we go for world class, or we don't go at all," Williams said.

He acknowledged how far the police department has come under Holbrook's leadership, by saying, "There's a level of dignity, integrity and professionalism that the police department and the manner in which the police department conducts itself, and I think that that's a direct result of the dignity, integrity and professionalism that Chief Holbrook has demonstrated."

That means they've set high standards for his replacement.

"We cannot slip back. We have to continue moving forward, and the search started yesterday," Williams said.

Holbrook said he challenges them to push forward.

"Build on our success, continue to advance the department, always maintain the high standards of ethics, integrity, community engagement and professional conduct, and I have no doubt in my mind that that is exactly what will happen," he said.

Holbrook's last day at HPD is April 7. He'll start his new job April 21.

Williams said they expect to spend a few weeks advertising the position, a few more weeks reviewing applications, then hopefully they can start interviewing candidates. He said the committee will recommend three candidates to him from which to choose, but if he feels like it's not the right fit, they'll start the process over.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Tiersa Davis) -- Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook was formally announced as chief in Columbia, S.C. and a committee has now been assembled to find his replacement.

The city of Columbia hosted an introduction ceremony Friday morning for Holbrook at police headquarters.

In Huntington Friday afternoon, Mayor Steve Williams announced an eight-member citizen committee to help with the search for Holbrook's replacement. The members are Mark Bates, Kenny Burner, Cathy Burns, Layton Cotrill, Reginald Hall, Randy Moore, Dan O'Hanlon, Donna Rumbaugh, David Tyson, Joseph L. Williams Jr., Jim Johnson and Brandi Jacobs-Jones.

Jim Johnson will be interim police chief until the position is filled. Johnson retired from the Huntington Police Department in 2001 and has 29 years of service.

-- Huntington Police Department Photo

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