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Past Pine Ridge police chief resigns from latest position after belated accusations by Pine Ridge

Pine Ridge, SC (Paul Kirby) 11/19/2020 - Keith Parks, who served as the chief of the Pine Ridge Police Department from December 2019 until April 2020, has abruptly resigned from his latest police chief’s position. WMBF out of Myrtle Beach and Florence reported Parks resigned from his position as chief of the Marion Police Department on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

The City of Marion posted an explanation for Park’s resignation on their social media page. In that post, city officials said, “Parks resigned amid an investigation of misconduct allegations involving his previous employment with the Pine Ridge Police Department. The City was not made aware of any allegations against Parks until November 12, at which time he had served as Marion’s Police Chief for six weeks.” Their post went on to say that Marion city officials were told the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy (SCCJA) received the misconduct report from the Pine Ridge Police Department on October 30, six months after his resignation from the Pine Ridge Police Department in April.

Marion officials say the reason that Parks was hired without questioning his past was that the SCCJA didn’t receive any report of misconduct made by the Town of Pine Ridge against Parks until 17 days after Pine Ridge’s latest interim police chief Vincent Silano resigned. Silano cited Mayor Robert Wells’ constant meddling with the day-to-day operations of the Pine Ridge Police Department as his reason for resignation. Silano’s resignation sparked a community wide uproar that is still going on today.

Marion officials appear to have done their due diligence before they hired Parks. According to their Facebook post, “Officials from the City of Marion and the Marion Police Department contacted the SCCJA in September, prior to hiring Parks. At that time, Parks was in good standing with the Academy. In addition to the SCCJA, the Marion Police Department contacted Parks’ previous employer and City officials spoke with references who knew Parks both personally and professionally. There were no red flags, indications, or allegations of misconduct from the persons or agencies providing references.”

According to the academy, agencies are required to report to them the occurrence of any act of misconduct by a law enforcement officer within fifteen days of their departure from that agency. These reports could result in the withdrawal of the officer’s certification to work in the field of law enforcement officer. No one knows why the report that Parks left Pine Ridge was not received in a timely manner.





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