Joey Reynolds, a manager at a private security firm and a retired police chief from North Carolina, will lead the Bluffton Police Department starting next month.
The town hired Reynolds to be the new police chief Tuesday, less than a week after interviewing him and two other finalists.
Reynolds, a security manager for G4S Company Police/Secure Solutions Inc., said he is eager to return to police work after a stint in the private sector. He was the police chief in Lenoir, N.C., for more than eight years before stepping down in December to join the security firm.
"I missed being responsible to a community after being a public servant for so long," Reynolds said.
Reynolds replaces Chief David McAllister, who announced in May he was retiring from the force to work for a private security firm in the Atlanta area. McAllister's last day was Aug. 1, and Capt. Angel Tubbs came out of retirement to serve as interim chief.
Reynolds was picked from about 140 applicants. The other finalists were Hassan Aden, deputy chief of the Alexandria, Va., police department; and Mark Brooks, chief of police in Marion, N.C.
Reynolds also has held several jobs within the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division and has worked as a narcotics investigator, a detective and a deputy sheriff at law enforcement agencies in North Carolina and South Carolina.
He has a master's degree in public administration from Appalachian State University. He is a member of the FBI National Academy Association, was elected to its national executive board in 2009, and is a certified public manager through the National Consortium of Public Managers.
Reynolds, 54, said his family -- wife Jackie and four grown sons -- have vacationed in the Lowcountry for years. Now "empty-nesters," he and his wife hoped to relocate to Bluffton even before the police chief job opened, Reynolds said. Allen Ward, a town resident appointed to a citizen panel to meet the top three candidates, said Reynolds stood out for two reasons: his compassion and an ability to relate to others. Ward said Reynolds will fit right in with Blufftonians.
Town manager Anthony Barrett and Mayor Lisa Sulka agree, saying in a joint statement that his 18 years of supervisory experience combined with his personality made him the top choice.
Reynolds said he plans to start in mid-September and will spend his first weeks on the job meeting people and deciding what type of policing Bluffton will need. Although the towns of Bluffton and Lenoir are similar in size, he said he doesn't think the same police tactics will work for both towns.
"I think the Bluffton department is policing a greater population than they get credit for," he said.
He'll take the helm of the department of 33 full-time officers with a $3.8 million budget by Sept. 24. He'll earn a starting salary of $98,900.