Please join us for Lunch!
For our meeting Monday, Oct 25th we welcome Chief Mark Keel of SLED and Chief Skip Holbrook, Chief of the Columbia Police Department.
Chief Mark Keel of SLED
Mark Keel has served as Chief of the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) since July 1, 2011. He returned to SLED after serving as Director of the S. C. Department of Public Safety from June 17, 2008 – June 30, 2011, having previously served at SLED beginning August 31, 1979.
Chief Keel received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia Southern University in 1979. While at SLED, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1995 and is a member of the S. C. Bar. He is a graduate of the S. C. Criminal Justice Academy, the FBI National Academy, and the FBI National Executive Institute.
A native of Barnwell, S.C., Chief Keel is a veteran law enforcement officer having more than 40 years of service. His interest in law enforcement and public service began at an early age when, as a teenager, he served as a volunteer firefighter for the Barnwell Fire Department and as a member of the volunteer rescue squad. He later served with the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Department and the Barnwell and Denmark Police Departments before joining SLED.
Chief Keel rose through the ranks at SLED, being named Chief of Staff in December 2001. Prior to assuming that position, he was a Captain for eight years in command of tactical operations. In that position he supervised SLED’s Aviation Unit, Bloodhound Tracking Team, SWAT Team and Fugitive Task Force. He also served in the agency’s Narcotics Unit, on the Lt. Governor’s Executive Protection detail, as a SWAT Team member, hostage negotiator, the Bloodhound Tracking Team, and SLED Aviation Unit. He is a commercial helicopter pilot and has served as a certified firearms instructor, driving instructor, and hostage negotiation instructor. Chief Keel has been a Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) Assessor since 1994. He served as the Accreditation Manager of SLED from January 1996 through June 2008.
He is currently President of the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies (ASCIA); Co-Chairman of the state’s Commission on Advancement of Public Safety; past President of the S. C. Law Enforcement Officers’ Association (2015/2016 and 2003/2004); and former member of Lexington-Richland School District 5 School Security Committee. He serves on the Lexington-Richland School District 5 Superintendent Emergency Response Advisory Council, the Advisory Board at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies in Lexington-Richland School District 5, and Co-Chairman of the Opioid Emergency Response Team. He also serves as South Carolina’s Homeland Security Advisor and chairs South Carolina’s Law Enforcement Training Council, which is the governing body for the S. C. Criminal Justice Academy. The S. C. Baptist Convention’s Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee named him as the recipient of the 2017 Public Servant Award. Additionally, he was recipient of the S.C. Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award in 1990 and the Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement in 2000.
Chief W. H. “Skip” Holbrook
William H. Holbrook was appointed Chief of the Columbia Police Department on April 11, 2014. He has more than 29 years of law enforcement experience, the last 14 years as a police chief. Under Chief Holbrook’s leadership, the Columbia Police Department is implementing organizational and operational reforms, which have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) for 21st century policing efforts. In addition, the department has received the S.C. Law Enforcement Officers Association (SCLEOA) SCANA Award of Excellence and has been awarded national accreditation by the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). In 2018, Chief Holbrook received the Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement. Earlier this year, Chief Holbrook was appointed to United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) National Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group.
Chief Holbrook’s law enforcement career began in 1987, when he was hired by the Charlotte Police Department in North Carolina. He went on to have a distinguished career with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), achieving the rank of Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Southern Piedmont District, Charlotte office. A native of Huntington, West Virginia, Chief Holbrook served for seven years as the Chief of Police for the Huntington Police Department, prior to coming to the Columbia Police Department.
Chief Holbrook earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Marshall University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Pfeiffer University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Police Executive Research Forum’s (PERF) Senior Management Institute for Police, the FBI’s National Executive Institute and the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Senior Executive Institute. Chief Holbrook is also a Furman University, Riley Institute Diversity Fellow. In August 2019, Chief Holbrook completed the Executive Leaders Program (ELP) at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).
Chief Holbrook currently serves on the following executive boards; South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association (SCLEOA), United States Attorney’s Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (LECC) and Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA.
In addition to serving on several boards and committees, Chief Holbrook is an active member of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association, South Carolina Police Chiefs Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, FBI National Academy Associates, National Executive Institute Association and serves as a member of the SC Governor’s Opioid Emergency Response Team.