By Beverly Gadson-Birch
Congratulations and best wishes to the new Police Chief of North Charleston, Reggie Burgess. Thursday, January 11, 2018 was a monumental day with the swearing in of Assistant Chief Reggie Burgess as the first black Police Chief of North Charleston. While the timing of the promotion is suspect, the promotion is long overdue. I know y’all didn’t ask me but why wasn’t Burgess promoted as Chief prior to selecting outgoing Police Chief Driggers, whose prior experience was that of Chaplain? Let’s not forget there is an upcoming mayoral election next year and folks tend to remember the latest and greatest things that we do.
While I am on the subject of the latest and greatest things, don’t expect changes overnight from Chief Burgess because of his ethnicity. Let’s not expect the new Chief to move mountains where others have failed. North Charleston has been plagued with more than its share of violence over the past decade. In 2016, North Charleston had one of the highest murder rates in the country. And, 2017 was even worse with 33 homicides. Chief Burgess is stepping into a big job with big responsibilities. I am sure high on the Chief’s list of priorities will be reducing the high murder rate in North Charleston.
The Office of Police Chief is about performance, transparency and forming relationships. Relationships are key in helping to solve crimes. The Office of Police Chief is not about race, class or gender. It’s about solving crimes and making the city safe for its residents and those seeking to relocate to the area. The position requires a highly skilled, experienced and people-oriented person. A person that can interact with citizens on all levels.
Since I have shared some of the expectations and pre-requisites of a Police Chief, it all comes down to respect. The new police chief is there to do a job. If you get into trouble, don’t expect any favors!! If you commit a crime, be prepared to do the time. For all of y’all whippersnappers, you can’t run away from the police with your pants half way down your butt and expect to get away. Y’all do some crazy stuff and expect to walk away without doing time. Think before you act!
Please ‘scuse my grammar. Chief Burgess ain’t your “Boo”, “Blood”, “Boy”, “Bro”, “Homie” or none of those street jargons associated with kinship or brotherly connection. Treat the new Police Chief with dignity and respect that comes along with the office. It’s no longer Reggie; it’s Chief Burgess. Y’all got that? And, if you really salute Chief Burgess’ accomplishments, do the right thing. Stop the violence! Stop the senseless murders!! Stop stealing and robbing folks!!! North Charleston is a booming metropolis. With the vast number of industries coming into the state and North Charleston in particular, there is no reason why anyone should who really wants to work can’t find a job. It is time to get off your “do nothing” and “do something”.
With less than two weeks under Chief Burgess’ belt, a 15-year-old was murdered by a 24-year-old man who accused him of stealing his car. The 24-year-old had reported his car stolen from a convenience store the night before the shooting. According to news reports, the 24-year- old spotted his car near his home and the teen entering the car with the keys in his hand. After allegedly seeing the teen reaching for something in the car, he yelled out to the teen and fired a warning shot. When the teen failed to stop and continued to reach for something in the car, the 24-year-old fired the fatal shot. Was this death avoidable? Of course, it was! It is past time for parental accountability. If in fact the accounts are true, What ‘da heck was the 15-year-old thinking of when he stole the car in the first place? Why are these children in the streets at night instead of home studying their lessons?
Well now, y’all had better clean up your act. There is a new chief in town.