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Charleston, S.C., officer turns down Meridian police chief's job

By By Suzanne Monk/The Meridian Star
Nov. 9, 2001
A top lieutenant with the Charleston, S.C., Police Department has been offered Meridian's senior law enforcement job chief of the Meridian Police Department.
The Meridian Star has learned that Lt. Harold Hill, a 24-year police veteran, met several weeks ago with Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith and Chief Administrative Officer Ken Storms.
Hill said he was offered the position during a two-day visit to Meridian, but has turned it down for the moment due mostly to salary considerations.
He said Meridian officials approached Charleston Police Chief Reuben Greenburg about the possibility of interviewing one or more of his officers. Greenburg spread the word to several of his lieutenants, Hill said, and at least one other officer has been in contact with Meridian officials about the position.
Hill discussed the decision with his family. He and his wife have two children, 12 and 16 years old, and his mother would also make the move.
The 47-year-old officer heads up Charleston's Team 1, a patrol division that includes 44 officers and several civilian workers. His team is responsible for the northern half of the historic coastal town, and a newly incorporated area in adjoining Berkeley County.
Other options
When tentative negotiations with Meridian officials broke down, Hill discussed the option of appointing Acting Chief Benny DuBose, who has been filling in on an interim basis since former Police Chief Gregg Lewis announced his retirement in July.
Hill also offered to come down to Meridian after a chief is named to conduct training sessions.
Other possible candidates at the Charleston Police Department may include Lt. George Brisbon, the traffic commander that leads Team 5; he could not be reached for comment. Another possible candidate is Lt. Charles Hawkins, who works in the Central Investigation Division, but is currently on active duty with a National Guard unit.
The Charleston Police Department
Greenburg, the police chief in Charleston, made a national name for himself in community policing circles and wrote a book in 1989 called, "Let's Take Back Our Streets." He has appeared on "60 Minutes," "Larry King Live" and "The McNeil/Lehrer News Hour."
Greenburg's 350-man department runs "What Works" seminars for visiting officers from all over the country, and several groups of Meridian police officers and city officials have visited Charleston over the years to see how the police department there gets things done.
The CPD is known nationwide for its innovative structuring and commitment to community policing.
Smith has consistently declined to discuss the process of selecting a new police chief, or who has been interviewed.
Suzanne Monk is managing editor of The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3229, or e-mail her at smonk@themeridianstar.com.

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