Columbia’s police chief has abruptly left the department, without giving a full explanation why.
WIS-TV first reported that Chief Randy Scott requested to go on extended leave for personal reasons, but city officials would not give any further reason beyond that.
Deputy Chief of Operations Ruben Santiago will take over leadership of the department in Scott’s absence. Santiago was also placed in temporary command when Scott retired for two weeks in January so the chief could avoid changes to the state’s pension system that would have taken effect.
Scott, a former Marine, spent most of his law enforcement career with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department before becoming Columbia’s interim police chief in October 2010. The “interim” label was dropped three months later.
Chief Scott has had a high-profile tenure in office. His department notably bungled its investigation of lobbyist Tom Sponseller’s suicide in early 2012. Scott has also been both criticized and praised for his very-public efforts to crack down on violent crimes in the city’s Five Points entertainment district.
In 2012, he was awarded the “City Officer of the Year” for South Carolina by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.