Exactly two officers from South Carolina were recently accepted for the 11-week training course with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in Quantico, Va. Keith Thomas, administrative captain for the Cheraw Police Department, is one of them.
“It is with great pride that I bring you this great news,” Cheraw Police Chief Jay Brooks announced to members of Cheraw Town Council Tuesday evening.
According to Brooks, Thomas first turned in his application to the FBI seven years ago. “Only one percent of officers across the nation even qualify to apply,” said Brooks. In the past 35 years, just six people with connections to Chesterfield County have graduated from the FBI Academy.
The extensive training will not begin until summer. Meanwhile, he will have to pass physical exams and begin a physical training program. Thomas’ wife will have to sign a permission form allowing him to be gone from the family for that length of time. She will also undergo some training to adapt to his absence and new assignment.
This assignment will be hard on Capt. Thomas and his family, said Brooks. But it will be a good thing for Cheraw, with the knowledge he will bring back to us.
Thomas told council he had already been in special training sessions since the recent shooting tragedy in at the primary school in Connecticut and asked for their blessings in his new venture. Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram said, “It is indeed a high honor for you and for us, as you will represent Cheraw on a national level.”
Another environmental study will be done on the 11.7 acres of property, adjacent to Arrowhead Park and currently owned by American Stainless, before council will make a final commitment to purchase. Council voted to spend up to $4,600 for the study , but the vote was not unanimous. Councilwoman Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon voted against it and Councilman Billy Wallace Jr. was not present for the vote.
According to Cheraw Town Administrator Mike Smith, the town’s attorney in this matter, Carl Roberts of Haynsworth, Sinkler and Boyd, “has recommended the town complete a Phase I Environmental Assessment and develop a Voluntary Cleanup Contract (VCC) with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) in order to ensure there are no environmental issues to be addressed.”
Mayor Ingram said the property must also be “re-surveyed to make sure the monitoring well stays on the American Stainless property.”
Smith said GEL Engineering has submitted a proposal to do the work, “not to exceed $4,600.” Ellerbe-Shannon expressed concern in spending money for another survey. She wanted to know what council would do should the report not be favorable.
“If it comes back, and it’s still contaminated, where does that leave us?” she asked. “Do we still buy it?”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com