Chief’s Check-in: Stay safe on All Hallow’s Eve

Hey, Columbia – With Halloween coming up, it’s always exciting for kids (and kids at heart) to get dressed up to attend costume parties, visit haunted houses and go trick-or-treating. Here are six tips to help you have a safe & fun trick-or-treating experience (Download PDF):


  1. Plan a route in advance & travel in groups
  2. Stay on sidewalks when possible
  3. Bring a flashlight & stay in well-lit areas
  4. Select well-fitting costumes, shoes & masks to avoid blocked vision and falls
  5. Only go to houses with a porch light on
  6. Sort & check candy when you return home

You may have noticed that temps are dropping and it’s much cooler in the mornings. Given these circumstances, warming up your vehicle may seem like a good idea, but it can make you a target for auto theft. My recommendation is to never leave your vehicle unattended while it’s running. During the “brief” time you are inside the residence, your vehicle could be stolen or vandalized. So even if it means you have to suffer through chilly temps for a few minutes, it’ll be worth it.

Do you have an interest in learning more about incidents of officer-involved shootings, use of force, vehicle pursuits, officer-involved collisions or complaints of misconduct? Check out our Internal Affairs Report. The report is a year in review of our 2016 internal affairs activities, and it includes supporting data + information about the topics listed above.

I want to send a special thank you to everyone that visited our officers at the S.C. State Fair and Five Points Chili Cook-off. We look forward to these annual events and my hope is that you found each interaction welcoming.

-William “Skip” Holbrook, Columbia Police Chief

Chief’s Check-in: MythBusters 4 ThingsYou Need to Know About Policing

Hey, Columbia. Do you ever wonder what things you need to know about policing? Have you heard myths about Miranda warnings or speed traps? If so, take a moment and allow me the chance to dispel a few common myths about policing.

1.Officers must recite Miranda warnings when you are arrested or detained. F A L S E.  

The requirement that Miranda warning be read only applies when police intend to question an individual. If no questioning occurs, the Miranda warning is not required.

2.Officers must be completely visible at all times in order for any traffic citations to be valid. F A L S E.  

Going unnoticed and using radars does not qualify as entrapment. Officers do not tell drivers that it is okay to speed, but they are allowed to catch drivers that do.

3.Officers must fill monthly ticket quotas. F A L S E.  

Targeted enforcement is in locations where we receive complaints, school zones, crime hot spots and high traffic accidents. The Columbia Police Department does not receive revenue from tickets.

4.K-9’s or ‘police dogs’ are aggressive animals. F A L S E. 

K-9’s are trained in multiple skill sets to include tracking, drug detection, criminal apprehension, handler protection, building searches and article searches. They go through many hours of training with their handler to maintain the highest level of proficiency and rarely attack in unprovoked situations.


Hopefully, as we continue to provide transparency about our operations, the information will help debunk some of the misconceptions about policing. I encourage citizens to visit our website for the most up-to-date information about our policies, operations and more.

Stay safe until next time.

-William “Skip” Holbrook, Columbia Police Chief


Chief’s Check-in: #9PMRoutine

Hey, Columbia – It’s the start of a new school year and I want to remind drivers to slow down, share the road + look out for children – especially when driving in residential areas + school zones. 🍎 We’ll have extra patrols working school zones to help remind drivers to stay alert. Let’s all co-exist safely in school zones.


In September, our Code Enforcement Division Inspectors will begin spreading good news to city residents. Inspectors are generally known for providing bad news to residents – and now, they’ll acknowledge + reward activities like placing trash + recycling bins on the curb, removing yard debris and keeping the grass cut with a special thank you note. 📝

Lastly, I’m excited to announce that CPD is launching #9PMRoutine, a new initiative to reduce crimes of opportunity by reminding citizens to lock their car doors + make sure belongings are out of sight at 9 p.m. – a time when many individuals + families are home, preparing for bed. (This is modeled after Florida’s Pasco Sheriff’s Office’s initiative that’s become super popular on Twitter among other police departments nationwide.)

Follow us on Twitter @ColumbiaPDSC to get the #9PMRoutine reminder + share photos of you “locking it up!”


-William “Skip” Holbrook, Columbia Police Chief


Chief’s Check-in: CPD has summer plans and you’re invited

Hey, Cola – We’re now in the swing of the #famouslyhot summer season, and during this time of year, the Columbia Police Department kicks off a bunch of initiatives + programs to build + strengthen our community partnerships. I hope you’ll join us at one of the following events:

🌯 Food Truck Fridays / Annual, bi-monthly series where you can meet + chat with local police officers over some grub from local food trucks at CPD Headquarters (1 Justice Sq.) on July 7 + 21 and August 4.

🔥 Fan the Heat / Kicked off this year on June 1, this annual program has delivered 6,000+ fans and air conditioners during summer to elderly citizens since its inception in June of 1995. You can donate fans, AC units + monetary funds through August 30 – see for drop-off locations, or drop off donations at Fireflies games and receive $1 off your ticket. ⚾️

Wishing everyone a safe summer in the city,

-William “Skip” Holbrook, Columbia Police Chief