(Rock Hill, S.C.) – The Winthrop University Campus Police department is currently looking to fill its top two leadership positions after a series of retirements.
Last month, Winthrop students and staff received a priority email notifying them that Kenneth Scoggins, who has served as chief since December 2017, retired effective Jan. 15.
“The chief chose to depart without the usual fanfare, but we want to thank him for his many years of dedicated service to Winthrop and to wish him a great retirement,” said Sheila Burkhalter, vice president of student affairs, in the Jan. 22 email.
According to Burkhalter, Scoggins retired from the university at the same time the department was preparing the search for an assistant chief of police to replace Wes Wiles, who retired at the end of September.
Students were not aware the assistant chief of police position was vacant.
Lt. Charles Yearta will lead the department as the interim assistant chief during the search to fill both positions.
“Our number one priority is still maintaining services and making sure that individuals aren’t upset or disturbed about a change of leadership thinking that is going to change something,” said Yearta.
He said he was already in the process of transitioning to the interim assistant chief position when Scoggins suddenly retired.
Yearta graduated from Winthrop in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminology.
After receiving a master of science degree in criminal justice from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2007, Yearta returned to Winthrop and has served the department for the past 12 years.
“Yearta has received numerous accolades in the field of law enforcement and has most recently completed the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Command College executive leadership training program,” said Burkhalter, via email.
“Just yesterday at Staff Conference he was recognized for being a stabilizing force in the department during leadership transitions. We are confident that Interim Assistant Chief Yearta will continue to provide leadership and stability in the time to come.”
According to Yearta, until the positions are filled the department will conduct “business as usual” to ensure the safety of the campus.
Officials hope to have the openings filled by fall 2020.