By Nikki Gaskins
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)—Days after the city of North Charleston announced its newest police chief, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon on Friday announced his support of the recent hiring of Eddie Driggers.
Driggers and Cannon first worked together at the North Charleston Police Department in the 1970s. He then went on to serve as Cannon's second-in-command at the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.
"North Charleston is in good hands," Cannon stated during a press conference at North Charleston City Hall. "Here's a man who knows people in the area, throughout the community. He also knows the public safety community.
After retiring from the sheriff's office in 2006, Driggers became a chaplain for Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy.
"I intend to show people my heart," said Driggers. "It is a love that is centered on doing the right thing for the men and women who serve this department, and it is love for the concern of those people in the community that need to know what we are there for them."
Driggers says his decision to take on this challenging new role didn't come easy.
"I prayed on this thing very hard. I don't consider myself an extraordinary man. I'm an ordinary man that has accepted an extraordinary position from God," said Driggers.
In December, Driggers will also become a deacon at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in North Charleston. On Friday his pastor, James Taylor, spoke of his new role as chief.
"Eddie will serve this community with professionalism. He will respect everybody. He will treat people with fairness," said Taylor.
While Driggers says he will lead with love in his heart, he says he plans to be tough on crime.
"Recidivism is something that we're going to have to work on as a community and not stand for those people who have committed crimes over and over again and are out on the street," said Driggers.
"On this issue of love, Eddie is fair with people, but I'll tell you he also loved to put thugs in jail," said Cannon.
Despite criticism from the NAACP that Mayor Keith Summey failed to conduct a thorough search just days after Chief Jon Zumalt announced his retirement, Summey stands by his decision to hire Driggers.
During Thursday's city council meeting Summey stated that, "I'm not going to waste $50,000 to do a national search when I got a man I know can do the job."
Summey says Driggers will officially be sworn in as police chief at the end of January.