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Rita Avila Zelinsky

"I will always be grateful for my Citadel experience. Each challenge made it possible to find strength that I didn't know I had and prepared me for life outside of the gates." – Rita Avila Zelinsky, Inspector, Charleston County Sheriff's Office

Rita Zelinsky, The Citadel

Rita Zelinsky, originally from, San Antonio, Texas, demonstrated leadership skills throughout her time at The Citadel. She served as a Cadet Recruiting Corporal in her Sophomore year, a Cadet Recruiting Sergeant in her Junior year, and was the Second Battalion Religious Officer in her senior year. A SC Police Corps Scholarship recipient, Ms. Zelinsky graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice in 2003. She has been protecting our community ever since. Joining the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office in August, 2003, Inspector Zelinsky has steadily worked her way up the ranks. Starting as a Patrol Deputy, she became a Detective in 2007, was promoted to Sergeant in 2011, and currently is an Inspector in the Office of Professional Standards. Every day, in many ways, Inspector Zelinsky serves her community well and strives to keep us all safe from harm.

As a Detective, Inspector Zelinsky specialized in crimes against children, sexual abuse, and physical abuse of vulnerable adults. A member of the Lowcountry Sexual Assault Response Team, she developed and implemented policies and techniques for responding to and investigating sexual assaults in the Lowcountry. She also provided training to community agencies and law enforcement personnel in child abuse and sexual assault investigations. When she was promoted to Sergeant, Inspector Zelinsky served in many supervisory capacities, demonstrating her leadership abilities. In her current position, she investigates and handles complaints and allegations of employee misconduct.

Inspector Zelinsky’s collateral duties demonstrate additional leadership qualities. She served as the Vice-Chairman of the Employee Assistance Committee. A crisis negotiator since 2004, Inspector Zelinsky now serves as the Assistant Team Leader and Training Coordinator for crisis negotiation. She has completed numerous Criminal Justice courses and certifications, developing a wide range of law enforcement skills.

Inspector Zelinsky continues to contribute to her alma mater by sharing her expertise with cadets. She has spoken with cadets about sexual assaults/safety and law enforcement. She participates in leadership training for knobs before Recognition Day.

Inspector Zelinsky attributes her many accomplishments to her faith and the support of her husband, Marc Zelinsky, her family and friends.


Rita Avila Zelinsky (2014). Personal communication.

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