Public Safety History
COPS at The Citadel
"Consolidated Operations & Police Services"
During the 1950's The Citadel had three night watchmen often referred to as guard or stadium special guard. Sometime in 1965, during his last year as President, General Mark Clark became dissatisfied with campus security and made the decision to hire a full-time Provost Marshal. Under the recommendations given by Col. Nicholson, Citadel Historian, General Clark hired Major Holiday, UASMC (Ret), who reported for duty on May 13, 1965. Under Major Holiday's tenure, the campus DPS (Department of Public Safety) total force consisted of five personnel, four security watchmen and himself. Most daytime security requirements continued to be provided by the Cadet guard.
On 12 January 1971, Lt. Col. Earnest H. Graham, USMC, (Ret) was hired to replace Major Holiday. Under Lt. Col. Graham, the DPS saw its greatest period of growth, reaching a total of eleven full-time DPS officers.
In 1974, Lt. Col "Graham realized The Citadel DAPS was not in compliance with the S.C. Code of Laws, Chapter 23, Section 23-23-40, which required officers hired after 1 January, 1972 attend and successfully complete the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. In January 1975, Officer Roy Floyd was the first member of The Department of Public Safety to attend and graduate from the Academy.
On 7 December 1979, Lt. Col. Graham submitted his resignation and Col. George B. Stackhouse IIIl, USAF (Ret), was hired as Director and reported for duty on 1 January 1980. Under the direction Col. Stackhouse, the DPS justified an increase of two additional positions, through the State Budget and Control Board, which increased the number of Certified Police officers in the department to thirteen.
On 16 June 1994, Sherman "Mike Bingham replaced retiring Stackhouse. He installed officer pride and professionalism throughout the department. Immediate initiatives were implemented.
The office was totally remodeled to ensure the presentation of a professional environment and uniforms were reconfigured with new rank insignia and shoulder patches. New police cars and paint schemes were introduced, vehicle radios were acquired from the Charleston County Sheriff's office, permission to operate the departments radio communications on the Sheriff's 800 radio system was granted enabling officers to access and transmit to all local police departments and the S.C. Highway Patrol, acquisition of computers to assist in establishing records and retrieval of statistical data, transition to automatic handguns were accomplished. Internal ranks were established. The Creation of an Administrative Lieutenant, a Captain Investigator position and Major / Deputy Director solidified command authority lines. Additionally patrol car video cameras with audible recording ability were acquired and installed in all patrol cars. Mike's four decades of law enforcement experience, his leadership, management style and fore-thought has given new meaning to The Citadel's Department of Public Safety.
Upon the retirement of Mike Bingham on February 15, 2008 then Major William A. Fletcher Jr. was asked to perform interim duties as Citadel Chief of Police while advertisement for the vacated position was made. Upon making application for the position Bill was promoted and assumed duties as Chief of Police at The Citadel on 1 July 2008. Chief Fletcher is now the fifth Director of Public Safety at The Citadel.
Chief Fletcher, upon assuming leadership duties began implementing many new and innovative changes within his department. Right off the bat new Motorola XTS model 2500 radios were purchased for each member of the department. He was instrumental in the process of applying for and receiving new DUI vehicle camera systems. The previous cameras were on loan to Public Safety from another department. In addition to updating the hand held radios and the vehicle radio systems, Chief Fletcher began the process of procuring the same operating system for the desk sergeant position (dispatch). This last step completed the overhaul of the departments’ communication systems.
Because of the changing world environment Bill, a forward thinker, began putting together a plan with justification for an increase of manpower from twelve state certified officers to fourteen officers and one parking enforcement officer in July 2008. As a few more years passed and with many more demands being placed on the Public Safety staff, Chief Fletcher began the manpower justification process once again. In April 2010 the department increased its manpower to the current contingent of sixteen state certified police officers. In December 2010 three Campus Service Officers were hired for the purpose of providing security at off campus student parking locations (Altman Lot and City Gym parking lot). These officers are equipped with radio communication and are responsible for detecting and reporting suspicious activities in their area of responsibility. Since their hiring the theft from and damage to student vehicles has significantly diminished. In addition these men and women are responsible for transporting campus officials to off campus function locations as well as transporting cadets to scheduled appointments off campus.
The world marches on and so must The Citadels’ Campus Police. The need for new and innovative equipment for the protection of faculty, staff, students and guests became obvious. The justification process for purchase of and training on the operation of Tasers was started. On August 15, 2012 three Tasers were purchased. With their acquisition there was a need for a department trainer. This was accomplished also. All department personnel are trained in the proper operation and employment of the weapon.
Danger is an ever-present condition in the law enforcement profession. Because of this condition, in September 2012, Chief Fletcher decided to purchase two tactical vests for placement in the marked patrol units for employment during emergencies.
Ever vigilant for opportunities to exploit for the safety and security of assigned personnel that, in turn, provides enhanced security for The Citadel, Chief Fletcher, in October 2013 authorized the pursuit of a grant. The money, when obtained, was specifically for the purchase of Tasers to outfit all department patrol officers. Grant funds provided the Taser, camera, test cartridges and active cartridges for each officer along with a holster for each.
In February of 2014 Bill saw a need for a multi-purpose vehicle that could be used in day-to-day activities and, when needed, could be used as an emergency response vehicle. He made the decision to begin the request for the purchase of a third public safety vehicle. After a long justification process the vehicle was obtained and has been equipped with emergency lights and siren. It is unmarked so that it can be used by campus services personnel for transport of citadel employees as well as students to scheduled appointments. The vehicle, when used in emergency deployment, is less conspicuous without police markings.
Chief Fletcher was instrumental in requesting payment for and receiving revenue from the efforts of our campus services personnel when they are utilized to transport students to appointment at off campus locations. Currently the funds received for this service is used for the maintenance of all assigned police vehicles.