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Town of Pine Ridge appoints interim police chief from within their department

Pine Ridge, S.C. (Paul Kirby) – The Town of Pine Ridge has appointed their police department's lieutenant and K-9 handler Vince Silano as their interim police chief. Silano previously worked for the Cayce Department of Public Safety and was in a leadership position with their K-9 unit. He is well liked and qualified to lead Pine Ridge’s Police Department.

Silano was appointed after Pine Ridge’s full-time chief, Keith Parks, resigned after a special called meeting of the town council Wednesday evening. Parks was the fifth chief or interim chief to hold that position in less than three full calendar years. After he resigned, he called The Lexington Ledger's editor to say he had resigned. He blamed the town's elected officials’ micro-management of the department as a reason for his departure.

Intermediate Chief Silano is well qualified and experienced law enforcement officer. He brought the Pine Ridge PD's K-9 Rens to town and has worked with Rens in and around Lexington County successfully. Rens has sniffed out drugs and led Silano to suspects who were hiding or running to elude capture. Silano and Rens have also been very popular for their demonstrations of K-9 policing with the area’s school children and other community organizations.

Silano will not be the only law enforcement presence in Pine Ridge until a new chief is selected. If he needs assistance, he could quickly request help from surrounding departments the town has mutual aid agreements with. Some of those departments including Gaston, South Congaree, Springdale, and Cayce.

Lexington County sheriff’s deputies will also be able available to assist Silano if necessary when Pine Ridge has no officers on duty, or their officers are tied up. This is standard operating procedure for the LCSD. Backup to other departments and law enforcement patrols are ongoing in all towns and communities across Lexington County. This includes areas that have no police department or do have their own officers but are either off-duty or tied up with other matters.

When asked after another chief’s departure if Sheriff Koon or any member of his staff had committed to provide Pine Ridge preferential treatment, faster response times, or additional patrols above and beyond what all other Lexington County towns or cities receive, a captain with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said that no special agreement was in place. He said that Pine Ridge would receive the same high-level of service every other community in the county gets.We have requested information regarding any agreement for any additional service from a spokesman for the LCSD and are waiting on his reply.

In a statement the Town of Pine Ridge posted on their Facebook page after Chief Parks' departure, they said that their department will be working in coordination with the sheriff's department to provide law enforcement. This is the case with all municipal departments. The sheriff's department does coordinate with a department's highest ranking officer and only takes over if that department request they do so.

It is expected that the Town of Pine Ridge will begin a search for another chief at some point in the future. Most openings on staffs of towns and cities across South Carolina are listed on several websites that may include the SC Municipal Association’s or one operated by the state. Qualified candidates for any position with municipalities can review these websites and apply for listed jobs if interested. Interim Police Chief Silano hasn’t publicly said if he will apply for the position full-time as of now.

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