[image-1]After more than a decade, Charleston Chief of Police Greg Mullen will be stepping down from his position as head of the department in August. In a statement announcing Mullen’s retirement, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg commended the chief for his 35 years of service in law enforcement, including his 11 years with the Charleston Police Department.

“Like all great police chiefs, Greg Mullen is more than an outstanding police officer. He’s also an outstanding man. And, as I’ve had the privilege to learn over the past year and a half, a truly good friend,” wrote Tecklenburg. “For more than a decade, Chief Greg Mullen has led the Charleston Police Department with professionalism, dignity, compassion, and grace. And he has done it while keeping our city secure, our citizens safe, and our community united.”

Mullen was appointed chief of police of the Charleston Police Department in 2006, after a lengthy tenure with the Virginia Beach Police Department. Prior to his time with the Virginia Beach police, Mullen served in the United States Air Force.

Looking back on his time in Charleston, Mullen reflected on how the city has affected him and his ultimate decision to retire from the position of chief of police.

“When I arrived in Charleston, I could not have dreamed how much the officers, the city, and its people would change me. Charleston became my city. When it succeeded, I was proud. When it was hurt or challenged, it was my responsibility to guard and protect it. I did not feel this way because it was my job or obligation; it was my home,” Mullen wrote in his letter of resignation to the mayor.

In response to Mullen’s retirement, Mayor Tecklenburg announced a national search for his replacement, to include input from the members of Charleston City Council, as well as community leaders and residents. In March, Tecklenburg called for a unified Department of Public Safety to oversee the city’s police, fire, and emergency services departments, with Mullen named as a possible director of public safety. That proposal was met by criticism from city leaders during a presentation in April, when members of the city’s Public Safety Committee questioned the benefits of consolidation and Mullen’s ability to oversee the entirety of emergency services outside of policing.

Among the recent challenges that he faced as chief of police, Mullen cited the lengthy, high-profile trials of Dylann Roof and Michael Slager. With Roof currently on federal death row and Slager awaiting the final sentencing phase of his trial, Mullen wrote that “Having two trials of this magnitude occurring simultaneously in the same city is unprecedented and placed a significant strain” on local law enforcement agencies. He added that having these trials concluded without incident is a major accomplishment for the Charleston Police Department.

“Over the past several months as I have reflected on this awesome opportunity and honor, I have determined that it is time for me to transition to a new segment of my life’s journey and allow a new chief to lead this wonderful department and city through its next chapter of growth, development, and opportunities,” Mullen wrote. “The city is going through tremendous growth and change, and it will need a chief to guide it through the next decade. As I assess the current status of the department, I feel that now is the perfect time for a transition to occur.”