A historical day here in North Charleston with Reginald Burgess becoming the first ever African-American Police Chief. Burgess said he's eager to continue serving his community and the promotion is a gift from above.
"I am truly blessed, and I thank the Lord Jesus for giving me this opportunity," Burgess said.
Reginald Burgess is the first African-American police chief in the City of North Charleston. "My mother told me when I was in college, when I decided to come back home, if you come back home you have to make a difference here, and that's what I've been trying to do for 29 years."
Burgess, now one of the leaders of the community he's always called home. “I'm a North Charleston kid, born and raised here. I love this city, always have."
North Charleston is the third largest city in the state. Civil rights leaders have been calling for a new chief of police since the department made national headlines in 2015.
Reverend Nelson Rivers said, "This is probably the single and most important step since the killing of Walter Scott."
Reverend Nelson Rivers is the pastor of Charity Missionary Baptist Church. He said Burgess' appointment to chief is long overdue. "I wondered out loud many times why wasn't he already the chief? But I think in his perspective, the timing was better now than before."
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said he believes Chief Burgess will be able to connect with the community. "I think Reggie's going to be able to help us to get beyond some barriers that we may have had in the past."
While Rivers said he's proud that after 46 years and eight other police chiefs, he's ecstatic to see and African-American man hold the prestigious position of police chief, "I think it's some misinformation to believe that black folk are excited because you're black." But more so what this means to the generations of young African-Americans behind him. "What we're excited about is finally that another barrier has been broken, another hurdle has been overcome, but we aren't excited because being a black chief won't get him in the club. The fact of that matter is that he has to be good and I'm confident he will be."
City officials tell us Burgess will make $132,000 a year. Burgess will officially be sworn in at the North Charleston City Council meeting on Thursday.