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Pelion police chief set to retire after 26 years of service

Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) - Pelion police chief Mike Crider is retiring from active duty after serving the public for 26 years next week. Crider’s last day on the job will be October 23rd, 2020.  

Chief Crider began his career as a reserve deputy with the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department. He later became a full-time deputy and eventually took a job with the Lexington County Sheriff's Department. While there, he worked with then South Region Commander Chris Garner. Approximately 16 years ago, Garner, who at that point retired from the sheriff’s department and accepted the job as Pelion’s police chief, hired Crider to come to Pelion as his second in command. Together, the two men worked to bring that little department back to life after it had ceased to operate several years before. When Chief Garner retired the second time, Crider was promoted to lead that small-town department.

“I have truly enjoyed working in law enforcement,” Crider said during a recent interview. “You certainly don't do this job for the money but I got a great deal of fulfillment from putting on the uniform and coming to work.” Chief Crider went on to say that policing a small town like Pelion was a perfect fit for him. “I always felt comfortable here knowing that the people of the town had our backs. In Pelion, we got to do more than just enforce the laws. We were able to build relationships and we know almost every resident in the town by their first name. We feel like it's our job here to keep the people safe in more ways than one.” Crider went on to say that the Pelion officers often filled needs that may not be considered traditional police officers’ work. “We always went to help no matter what. That’s what we felt like we were here to do.”  

Chief Crider said that he could not have had a better leadership team to work for while at Pelion. “Often, the hardest part about being the police chief in a small town is having to deal with the small-town politics,” Crider said Thursday afternoon. “The mayor of Pelion and its council have always been 100% supportive of this department. When I was promoted to chief and Frank Shumpert was elected as mayor, he told me that I would run the police department and he would run the town.” He went on to say, “Mayor Shumpert told me that if I need him, I knew where I could find him. Then he told me if he needed me, he knew where he could find me. After that, he left me alone and let me do my job, what I had been training to do most of my adult life.” 

Chief Crider also expressed how blessed he had been when searching for officers to work under his command. “You can't find anyone more qualified than people like Lt. John Rebolj to work in a town like this. He's just a very smart law enforcement officer that has the personality to deal with the people of such a small town.” Chief Crider also complimented his only other full-time police office Odell Glenn. “Odell is definitely one of a kind,” Chief Crowder said with a slight chuckle. “Hiring him as our school resource officer was definitely good for this town, the schools, and the police department. The children and staffs of our schools absolutely love him, and the people of this town love him. He's just a pleasure to work with and I hope he'll stay for many more years,” Chief Crider said. 

Crider said that even though his last days patrolling would be the week of October 19, a part of his heart would always be in Pelion. “It’s just a great town with great people that anyone who enjoys a small-town atmosphere would be lucky to be a part of.”  

Town leaders have organized a small retirement dinner for Chief Crider on Friday, October 23, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. That invitation only gathering will happen at the Pelion Community Center on Pine Street. At that point Lt. Rebojl will take over as the town’s interim police chief. It is expected that he will be promoted to full-time police chief at the next meeting of the town’s council. 




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