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      Haley's choice for SLED leader advanced

      Mark Keel is a vote away from taking the helm of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. / FILE

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Mark Keel is a vote away from taking the helm of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

      The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended Wednesday that the Senate confirm Gov. Nikki Haley's pick to lead the state's police agency. The full Senate will likely vote next week.

      Keel now runs the state Department of Public Safety.

      Keel says it has long been his goal to run SLED, and he never dreamed he'd leave the agency.

      Related Stories... SC officers honor top group in law enforcement SC cops gather to bestow annual honors Haley nominates Public Safety Director Keel to head SLED

      The Barnwell native joined SLED in 1979. He served as its chief of staff in 2001 and then as the division's interim chief when former chief Robert Stewart retired in 2007.

      But then-Gov. Mark Sanford nominated former U.S. Attorney Reggie Lloyd, who announced earlier this year that he would leave the post July 1.

      (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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