South Carolina Public Safety Director Mark Keel was officially announced Wednesday as the governor’s nomination to lead the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Keel had previously served at SLED for 29 years before becoming the Department of Public Safety director in 2008.
He told a crowded Statehouse lobby that he had all but given up on the chance of becoming the state’s highest law enforcement officer. He came in a close second in 2008 when then-Gov. Mark Sanford appointed the current SLED chief, Reggie Lloyd. Keel called this transition now “bittersweet” and got emotional when he spoke about what he considers DPS’s recent accomplishment: lowering the death rates on SC roads.
Laura Hudson, director of the South Carolina Crime Victim’s Council, says she is very pleased with Haley’s choice.
Crime victims, we’re going to be very happy because we have been unhappy with some of the things that have taken place at SLED over the last year, taking out cases against child pornography, not getting the type of enforcement of alcohol that we’d like to have. I know the budget is tight and that Mark’s not a wizard and he can’t manufacture money, but I think he can set priorities and I’m real excited about that.
Keel is very likely to be approved as he has the support of the law enforcement community and key state senators.
Now, the same advisors that chose Keel for SLED, will search for his replacement at DPS. They are led by Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Director Kela Thomas.