SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Residents in Surfside Beach have a new top cop working to keep them safe.
Lt. Kenneth Hofmann was named the town's interim police chief last week after Rodney Keziah recently handed in his resignation.
Hofmann grew up in Surfside Beach and now lives there with his wife and three kids. He said he knows the town front to back, and was honored when he was asked to keep its people safe.
"This is my 19th year in law enforcement and I have sort of a special attachment to Surfside Beach because I actually started my law enforcement career here," said Hofmann.
After spending 10 years as an officer in Georgia, Hofmann moved back to the town where his career got its start.
"My family is here and this is home to me," he said. "So I got back a little closer to focus on my family."
Hofmann said he's always dreamed about one day becoming police chief, but never expected it to happen so suddenly.
"I, along with everyone else here at the police department, have a lot of respect for Chief Keziah and definitely didn't want to see him go," he said. "Interim chief was definitely not on my radar. While I had always wanted and have always wanted to be the chief of police in Surfside, to aspire to that, it was a blip on my radar but not really so close."
When asked about specific problems the community is facing, Hofmann says his experience and love for the community is what sets him apart. That love was put on display during Hurricane Matthew.
"When the power was out here, we decided to have our officers ride around with their blue lights on. That might have seemed a little unusual, and we weren't sure what the response was going to be, but all we knew is that we had citizens in the dark," Hofmann said.
Like most law enforcement agencies across the Grand Strand, Hofmann will have to face the heroin epidemic. He stressed the urgency is to get ahead of the problem.
"How could the family beach have this problem? Well it affects families," Hofmann said. "And I think that as a caring agency and an agency that really wants to help our community, we have to accept the fact that there are some people in this community that may be suffering from addiction related to heroin."
Hofmann added his goal isn't just to stop bad guys, but to offer himself as a public servant to the people of Surfside Beach.
"Ultimately, I want what's best for the town and for the police department and the officers and civilians who work here in the department," he said. "It's a win-win for me, but I would be honored if I get that opportunity."
Hofmann says he plans to submit his name for consideration once Surfside Beach officials begin looking for a permanent police chief in the spring.