Friday, July 13, 2012
Starting the day after Labor Day, the Town of Pawleys Island will have a new police chief.
Who takes over the position from retiring Guy Osborne will be decided Thursday.
Pawleys Island Town Council met in executive session Monday to interview the three finalists for the job.
Two of the finalists — Matt Elliott and Mike Fanning — have worked for the Pawleys Island Police Department for years. Kirk Corley is a captain with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.
Pawleys Island Mayor Bill Otis said all three contenders for the job “made great presentations” during their interviews.
Osborne has been the town’s police chief for 10 years. His retirement was originally scheduled to begin this month — on the Fourth of July — to coincide with the anniversary of the day he began his job.
“We got down on our hands and knees and begged him to stay through the transition,” Otis said.
Once the new chief is hired, Osborne will spend the next few weeks working with them so it will be a smooth takeover.
Otis said council is in “an unenviable position” in having to choose among the three finalists because they all would do a good job.
Elliott’s law enforcement career began when he was hired by the town in 2003.
“It will be a great honor to be police chief,” Elliott said Monday after his interview.
He said he has stayed with the department for nearly a decade because of his love for the town.
“It fits my personality,” he said, adding Pawleys Island is “a hard place to recreate.”
Before being hired in Pawleys Island, Elliott was a youth director in the Pittsburgh area. He moved to the area when his wife was hired at All Saints Church.
He is a patrol officer and handles investigations within the department.
“They took a chance on me when they sent me to the Police Academy but I finished first in my class,” Elliott said.
Fanning is a retired New York City police officer who was hired in Pawleys Island in 2007.
He said he likes working on Pawleys Island because — despite the fact that the population swells from a couple of hundred to over 5,000 during the summer — it’s “still community-based policing.”
He said he enjoys meeting new people and has become friends with many who visit the island on an annual basis.
“It makes it very interesting,” said Fanning, who was a supervisor for the NYPD hate crimes task force when he retired.
He also works with Elliott on investigations within the department.
Corley has been in law enforcement since 1992. Most of his career — 21 years — was spent with the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office. He joined the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office in 2010 where he is a captain and in charge of the patrol division.
He said even though he has 20 years in law enforcement, he is not ready to retire but does want to “slow down” a bit.
“I have been coming to the coast since I was a child,” he said, adding his first time on Pawleys Island was when he began seeking the job.
“Pawleys is like a hometown that happens to be on the coast,” he said. “I enjoy working with people who enjoy doing this type of work,” he said.
He said he does not consider his line of work a job because it is what he enjoys doing.
Pawleys Island Town Council will meet in executive session at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss the finalists and then take a vote in open session.
By Scott Harper