New Darlington police chief discusses plans for department

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - In a couple of months, Kelvin Washington will be calling the Darlington Police Department his new home.

The city of Darlington announced the hiring of the current South Carolina U.S. Marshall as their new chief of police Wednesday.

After interviewing four finalists, Darlington Mayor Gloria Hines said Washington was the best fit.

"I see great things happening in Darlington," Hines said. "I see Darlington moving forward and like I keep saying to everybody, I see transparency - a chief that believes in transparency and I believe with that, I think Darlington can move forward."

Washington has worked in law enforcement for over 20 years. He said his experience - going from a beat cop to Williamsburg County Sheriff and now his current position as a U.S. Marshal appointed by former President Barack Obama - has prepared him for the job ahead.

"It gives me a quite a bit of expertise in a number of different areas and so I think that will be an advantage for the citizens of Darlington," Washington said.

Washington described his leadership style as "servant leadership."

"I believe in serving the people that you lead. You have to hold them accountable, but you also have to know and understand you also have an accountability to them as well," he said.

Along with accountability, Washington also believes in transparency. He added his first priority is to conduct department assessments out of fairness to the officers and Darlington residents

"To see what's there, what's working, what's not working and try to see what the needs of the community are and then try to meet those needs," Washington said.

Washington said that goes for the men and women in blue too.

"I reached out to the command staff over there and said, 'Hey guys, relax. You know, realize this is going to be something new, it's going to be something different, but I think you all are going to find that at the end, it's going to be good for everyone,'" he said.

Washington expects to be serving full time as Darlington's chief of police on or before March 30.

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