Pine Ridge Police Chief Nicholas Scott and Lt. Starkey resign effective Thursday afternoon
Pine Ridge, SC (Paul Kirby) – Pine Ridge Police Chief Nicholas Scott and Lt. Joshua Starkey have resigned on Thursday afternoon effective immediately. This was according to former Chief Scott who made a statement to The Lexington Ledger by telephone.
In the phone conversation with Scott, he said that he could no longer operate in good conscious in such a hostile work environment like the one that existed in Pine Ridge. “The Pine Ridge Police Department is not actually able to be a police department as long as the mayor is there and operating in the way he is,” Scott said. “He has his hand in so much of the day-to-day operations of the police department that some of it challenges what’s considered ethical operations of the department.” Scott went on to say that police officers are supposed to have the utmost morals, integrity, and the highest standards. As the small town’s police chief, Mayor Robert Well’s actions often jeopardized those key qualifiers for a police chief. “I can’t sit idly by while anyone jeopardizes those key points by their actions and shows no signs of stopping. As hard as it may be for the mayor, the trained and qualified police chief will need to be allowed to run the police department as it should be run if it is ever going to be operated in a way that doesn’t challenge those standards.” Scott went on to say that the mayor’s actions, and the actions he allows, could easily jeopardize investigations and cases and wouldn’t be allowed at any other department where procedures that are recognized as basic standard operating procedures for a police department are being followed.
The resignation of these two key leaders of the department is the second time in 2018 that the department has been left rudderless. Currently, Patrolman Dale Brown is Pine Ridge’s only full-time qualified police officer. The last time this happened in the spring of this year, the department’s operations were suspended by the town at that time and they released a statement that many said led them to believe that their town would get preferential treatment from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department in regard to patrols and responses to emergencies, an arrangement the sheriff’s department denied several times.
At a surreal specially called meeting at the town hall on September 19, 2018, a long line of people stood and approached the podium and told the mayor and council what a great job Scott, Starkey, and Brown were doing. This was after word circulated via social media that the department might be fired again. Since that meeting, Scott said he had been laying low, doing his job, and protecting the community to the best of his ability. This week, the stress and toll on his personal life and own well-being just became too much.
We are working on additions to this story and are currently attempting to contact town officials regarding this situation.