MCCOLL, SC (WBTW) – A police chief in a small Marlboro County town is the department’s only certified police officer and blames the town’s mayor for the officer shortage.

The town of McColl has a population of about 2,000 people. McColl Police Chief Xzavier Williams is now the only certified officer on the force. Following a series of resignations and other factors, Williams puts much of the blame on McColl Mayor George Garner.

Williams, who is believed to be the youngest active police chief in South Carolina at 26, began serving as chief in McColl on November 28. Since then, Williams said Garner has been a factor in four officers exits and has since taken over hiring duties from the chief.

“I am/was working to hire more certified officers but the mayor has taken over the police department in search of his own officers to hire,” Williams told News13 Thursday. “Despite hiring a department head – the chief of police – to do the job due to wanting to rid me and all the officers hired.”

Here is a list of officers who have left the department over the past 6 months:

  • Around the time that Williams was hired, an uncertified McColl officer had been placed on administrative leave after an incident involving the officer’s mental health, according to documents obtained by News13 from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. That officer was determined to be unfit for duty and was terminated in late December.
  • The first officer hired by Williams began in early January. This uncertified officer quit Wednesday. Williams said the officer refused to undergo additional field training, which is required by the Academy.
  • Williams said he hired a second uncertified officer in late January but that person quit in February due to finding a better paying job.
  • He hired a third uncertified officer in mid-February. Documents from the Academy say this officer resigned in late May, with no reason given. However, Williams said this officer was forced to resign by Garner.
  • Williams said he hired his first certified officer in mid-February but that officer quit in early May due to “an issue arising with the mayor” but did not elaborate. Documents from the Academy say the officer accepted a job with another agency but no other details are available.
  • Williams said he hired a second certified officer in late February. He said this officer quit in mid-May after being forced to resign by Garner. Documents obtained from the Academy say this officer resigned due to accepting employment with another law enforcement agency but under “other separation reason,” the document says “hostile work environment by the mayor”.
  • Williams tells us he also had gone through the hiring process with two other certified officers and one uncertified officer, and offered them the job, but Garner then told Williams to tell them that they would not be hired.

Williams said Garner also told him that Garner “was looking for a new chief who would bring in his/her own officers”.

Currently, the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office is helping the police department with coverage. Williams said with him being the only certified officer in the department, and with Garner’s decision to not move forward with some recent hirings, he’s worried about the safety of the town.

Williams told News13 in a statement:

“…The problem lies when you have certain officials who either try to take over the department and run it without having proper knowledge about the law and not trusting the very person they hired to operate the department as the department head to lead the department better [than] where it was before…”

Williams told News13 he has also been fighting drug issues in the community and was making progress in doing more by sending an officer to K9 school. However, he said Garner’s opposition to having a K9 ended that plan.

At the bottom of his statement to News13, Williams wrote, “currently, but possibly not for much longer, I am the only employed certified officer.”

Prior to working for the McColl Police Department, Williams was with the Dillon Police Department from 2018 until mid-November.

News13 reached out to Garner multiple times for comment on Wednesday. When we called him again Thursday morning, he picked up and told News13, “I ain’t got no time, brother” and hung up.

Count on News13 for updates.

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