South Congaree police chief’s future uncertain

tflach@thestate.comJuly 14, 2014 

— South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert’s future is up in the air after a protest Monday over an attempt to fire him.

The attempted dismissal is an unwelcome surprise for a police chief who is “decent and honest,” homeowner Betty Slusher said.

Town leaders are mum on the move to oust him after a year on the job, despite the demands for explanation.

Even some town leaders say they’re confused.

“There’s no clear reasons yet” for why some of the five Town Council members are unhappy with Shumpert, said Mayor Brian Jackson, a Shumpert supporter.

The push for dismissal is a mystery, said Jake Moore, Shumpert’s lawyer.

“We’d truly like to know what they’re exercised about.” Moore said.

For now, Shumpert is not getting the explanation he wanted.

“We really pushed for him to get the job, but sometimes things change,” said Councilwoman Lila Gantt, who supports dismissal.

But Jackson favors putting the police chief on probation initially to correct alleged shortcomings.

The police chief’s lawyer said Shumpert never received a performance evaluation and would strive to correct any deficiencies.

“He’ll do everything in his power to make things right or die trying,” Moore said.

Shumpert stepped up from second-in-command of the six-officer town police force in the Lexington County town of 2,300 near Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

Town leaders appointed him last summer after the unexpected resignation of former Chief Jason Amodio.

Amodio was indicted in mid-June by the State Grand Jury on charges of accepting payments in exchange for not destroying gambling machines.

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Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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