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      Who will be the next Columbia Police Chief?

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - Today City Manager Teresa Wilson announced the city of Columbia has officially started the search for a new police chief.

      This coming months after the State Law Enforcement Division launched an investigation into the the police department after a former officer claimed there was corruption among its leadership.

      "I don't want to drag it out any longer. We need to move forward now." says Wilson.

      The issue of leadership has been a problem plaguing the Columbia Police Department.

      According to the CPD website, the department has had 10 Chiefs in the past 13 years.

      The longest serving Chief during the past decade was Charles Austin, who served for 11 years.

      City officials hope to stop this revoling door by putting permanent leadership in place.

      "The community has spoken and said that they want someone who's going to be here with us and be here with us for the duration, and so I recognize that." Wilson states.

      All of this also comes months after former Police Chief Randy Scott left the Department under a cloud of controversy.

      Scott took an abrupt leave of absence for nearly 3 weeks and resigned on May 1st of this year.

      The embattled Chief resigned due to post tramautic stress disorder.

      Scott also said he never recoverd from the death of a young deputy, Keith Cannon, whom he hired while working at the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

      A short time after stepping down, Scott was rehired by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

      And now Teresa Wilson is ready for a leader who recognizes Columbia's challenges and is willing to tackle them full force.

      "If they're willing to come and do that, that speaks volumes. And combine with that the experiences that they bring to the table. So it is very important to find that type of leader who recognizes and accepts what they're stepping into." explains Wilson.

      Wilson is hoping to have the new police chief selected by mid-February of next year.