With seemingly no regrets and plenty of resolve, fired Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter said Monday he was simply performing the constitutional duties of his office and he did nothing in his view to warrant his dismissal. Carter moved against the grain of Columbia City Manager Steve Gantt and city council by not bringing in an outside law enforcement agency to investigate the April 21 accident involving Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin. 61 year old hotel employee Deborah Rubens remains hospitalized with injuries suffered in wreck. Gantt and council members wanted an outside agency called in to remove any perception of a conflict of interest in the case.
Carter refused to admit that his two year relationship with members of the council and the city manager was rocky as he continually fought for resources to upgrade the department. He did say that he was grateful for the dedicated service of the people of the department he led until Monday.
I have never, ever been in an agency that has suffered from such neglect in my whole, entire life and they have been champions about this to honest with you. I will tell you that those folks I have represented and have had the privilege of representing have been extraordinary and this is not the first time they have heard me says that. I want them to know that this is not about you, it’s about me.
Shortly after his firing, Carter said he was not “a puppet police chief.” He plans to challenge his termination.
Carter says he enjoys being involved in police work and working with dedicated peace officers.
I really enjoy policing and I really enjoy the folks who wear the uniform. I want to says this has been a wonderful ‘cop shop.’ The folks that work in the department both those in uniform and police civilians have made me proud.
Carter came to Columbia two years ago after serving as the police chief of Shelby, North Carolina. Carter has 35 years of military and municipal law enforcement experience. he is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel.