By Stan Welch
Seven years after taking command of a police department in a town with one of the nation’s worst per capita crime rates, Chief Mike Clardy submitted his resignation to West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders last week. The town he patrolled and protected now has one of the best per capita crime rates in the nation.
Clardy has been enduring deteriorating health for some time, and spent the last several months preparing Capt. Christopher Brewer as his successor.
“Chief Brewer is well prepared to lead the department. He was a valuable part of my department for several years, and will continue to maintain a professional, effective department. We are and have been good friends, and, whether I eventually return to law enforcement or not, I am always just around the corner if he needs me,” said Clardy Monday afternoon.
Mayor Sanders released a statement expressing his regret that Clardy had resigned, but stressed that the decision was entirely his, and that the town wished him the very best in the future, both professionally and personally.”I can’t get into details because Mike deserves his privacy in this matter, but I would remind everyone that he and his department took West Pelzer from worst to first in just seven years. The town and its residents clearly owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Clardy also declined to go into any significant detail, but he has had at least one back surgery. He gave the following statement to The Journal. “I would like to thank Mayor Sanders, the town council and the employees of West Pelzer for all that they have done for me and for my family. I would also like to thank former Mayor Peggy Paxton for bringing me to West Pelzer in the first place. I would like to thank all the officers who served under me for their hard work, commitment and dedication. Most of all, I would like to thank the many friends I have made in West Pelzer and Pelzer. I have been truly blessed to serve you. At this time, I have no plans for the future but to improve my health and to follow the path down which the Lord leads me. Chief Brewer is both a friend and a confidant and West Pelzer has a town government committed to working together for the common good of their constituents.”
Chief Brewer said that he intends to continue the work that Clardy began. “We will continue to strive to be one of the most professional small town police departments in the state and the nation. We will continue to aggressively pursue crime in order to provide a safe and peaceful community for our residents. Chief Clardy groomed me during the time when he and his family were working towards this decision. I appreciate his confidence in me, and I share that confidence with those who serve the people of West Pelzer.”
The department currently has five officers in addition to Chief Brewer, but he says he is currently seeking two full time and two part time officers to fill out the force. He holds two associate degrees, one in criminal justice, and one in science. He is currently pursuing a four year degree in science.
He was named Anderson County Police Officer of the Year for his actions in thwarting a kidnapping attempt by personally entering a home and disarming and capturing the suspect in the case.