MANNING - Manning Interim Police Chief Keith Grice has been chosen as Manning's permanent police chief, according to Manning Mayor Julia Nelson.
"The City of Manning has announced that Keith Grice has accepted the position of chief of police effective immediately," Nelson said in a news release Wednesday morning. "Grice was named interim in July 2018."
On Jan. 30, city officials began advertising for a permanent police chief and set a deadline of Feb. 15 for the submission of applications.
On Wednesday, Nelson said that the city received 18 applications for the police chief's position. From those 18 candidates, city officials - including council members, Nelson and City Administrator Scott Tanner - selected six candidates to interview for the position.
"We were impressed with the applicants and those interviewed," Nelson said. "However, we all acknowledged the great strides the Manning Police Department has made since Chief Grice has taken command. We're also pleased with the overwhelming confidence which the public and police officers have expressed with his leadership. This gives us the confidence that he is the right person to lead the agency."
On Wednesday, Grice said he was excited and thankful for the confidence city officials had in his ability to lead the police department on a permanent basis.
"Most of my career has been with the Highway Patrol, where I've worked outside of my home county," Grice added. "Now, I've come back home where I'm able to work, shop and serve the community where I live. I'm excited about the position and the officers that I'll be working with to serve the citizens of Manning."
Grice is a 30-year veteran of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, where he held both supervisory and leadership roles during his three-decade tenure with that department. Grice is a graduate of the Administrative Management Officers Program at North Carolina State University. He also has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice along with several law enforcement certifications and awards, including Trooper of the Year for Troop 7 in Beaufort County.
Originally from Marion, Grice has resided in Manning since 1994. He is married to Ladell Grice, and the couple has two daughters, India and Asia.
Grice replaces Blair Shaffer, who was fired in July 2018 in what city officials deemed at the time as "in the best interests of the city." In the announcement, Nelson wrote that the safety of "our residents, guests and community is of utmost importance."
Shaffer fought his termination by asking for a hearing before the city's Grievance Committee. Though the Grievance Committee ruled in favor of reinstating Shaffer, members of Manning City Council voted to reaffirm their initial decision to terminate his employment.
On Jan. 7, FBI agents arrested Shaffer on multiple federal charges including money laundering, theft of federal funds and providing false statements. Shaffer appeared in federal court in Charleston that afternoon and pleaded not guilty to the federal charges of taking more than $75,000 in public money between September and November 2015.
No decision has been made as to when the case will appear in court.
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