When Guy Osborne, Pawleys Island’s police chief for the past decade, announced his retirement, applications from people hoping to fill his seat poured in from all over the country.
The choice of who to hire was a difficult one for Pawleys Island Town Council. It was evident the panel was putting a lot of thought into the decision because the process dragged over several months.
On Thursday, council voted unanimously to give the job to Mike Fanning who has been with the department since 2007.
Chief Osborne, who will continue working until Labor Day after 41 years in law enforcement, said he was pleased council decided to hire one of his officers from within the department.
Another Pawleys Police Officer, Matt Elliott, was also a finalist for the job.
There were three finalists earlier in the week but Kirk Corley, a captain with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, withdrew for family reasons.
Mayor Bill Otis said the town received 85 applications but from the beginning wanted someone from South Carolina or from near the state.
“This has been one of the hardest, if not the hardest, decisions we have had to make,” Otis said. “We had two very excellent internal candidates.”
After the vote, Fanning — who was still on patrol — received a call from Otis telling him the decision.
Fanning drove to Pawleys Island Realty, where the meeting was held, and told council he hopes he will be someone they can trust when bad things happen on the island.
Fanning is a retired New York City police officer who said he likes working on Pawleys Island because — despite the fact that the population swells from a couple of hundred to over 5,000 during the summer — it’s “still community-based policing.”
He said he enjoys meeting new people and has become friends with many who visit the island on an annual basis.
“It makes it very interesting,” said Fanning, who was a supervisor for the NYPD hate crimes task force when he retired.
By Scott Harper
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