Gov. McMaster names Citadel graduate, SCHP Major as Dept. of Public Safety director

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster has named an acting director for the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Highway Patrol Major Robert G. Woods, IV has been named the acting SCHP director and comes after North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess withdrew his name from the nomination on Thursday.

Major Woods is a 30-year veteran of the South Carolina Highway Patrol and is currently serving as the agency’s Major of Administrative Support, according to Gov. McMaster’s office.

Maj. Robert G. Woods IV

Major Woods is a 1988 graduate of The Citadel and holds a master’s degree in Human Relations and Conflict Management from Columbia College. He is also a graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Leadership Institute and holds a Certified Public Manager Credential.

Current Director Leroy Smith’s 4-year term expires at the end of the day today. Major Woods will begin serving as acting director of DPS, February 1, and will continue serving in that capacity until a new director is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the South Carolina Senate.

In November, the Governor’s office announced Chief Burgess was being considered for the job.

“Chief Burgess is one of the finest leaders our state has ever produced. His career in law enforcement and personal achievement is remarkable,” said Gov. McMaster in a release. “I am confident that he will do an excellent job as the new director by restoring employee morale, recruiting and retaining additional troopers and addressing discipline and grievance policies.”

However, Burgess withdrew his name on January 30th saying his family had been very supportive of his career in law enforcement, but it was now time for him to be supportive of his family.