Taylor makes history as Williamston police chief


Taylor takes oath – Tony Taylor takes the oath of office to become the first black to serve as head of a municipal police department in Anderson County. Also pictured are Mayor Mack Durham (left) Deputy Chief Carl Anderson of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and Taylor’s wife Betty.

An overflow crowd of more than 250 people attended the first Council meeting of the year in Williamston, which began with the ceremonial swearing in and administering of the oath of office for the new mayor, council members, fire chief and the town’s new police chief.

Friends, family members and law enforcement coworkers joined citizens of Williamston in witnessing a history making event, the swearing in of Tony Taylor as the town’s new police chief. Taylor, 49 , is the first black in the history of Anderson County to serve as head of a municipal police department.

Law enforcement officers from Greenville County, Anderson County, Anderson City and representatives of the SC Criminal Justice Academy attended the event.

Taylor, who worked as a dispatcher for the Williamston Police Department in the early 1980s, worked with the neighboring departments during his career in law enforcement and also with the SC Criminal Justice Academy, where he trained police officers across the state.

Attending from the Criminal Justice Academy were Director Hubert F. Harrell and Executive Staff Member Major Florence McCants.

“You don’t know what a quality person you have hired,” Chief Harrell said about Taylor. “We teach integrity. You have to do the right thing, not because it is politically correct.”

Harrell said Taylor will make the community safer and will be responsive.

“You have someone who will listen and try to help you resolve your problems. He’s going to give you the best law enforcement that the town of Williamston can afford.”

Deputy Chief Carl Anderson of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said Taylor “will do the right thing.”

“I think he will do an excellent job,” Anderson said.

Captain James Stewart of the Anderson City Police Dept. said he had learned a lot from Taylor during training as a gang enforcement officer and that he is a man of character. “If there is a call day or night, he will answer.” He also said Taylor is “all about community partnerships.”

Also sworn in were Williamston Police Department Command Staff members Captain Jay Grubbs, who will head operations, and Captain Kevin Marsee.

Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison was sworn in along with newly elected officers for the Fire Department.

WFD officers include: Harold Nichols, Assistant Chief; LaDane Baker, Captain; Van Ellison, Captain; Ricky Heatherly, 1st Lieutenant; and Dave Bryant, 2nd Lieutenant.

Mayor R. Mack Durham said the “Level of professional quality of people we have. We have a fine bunch of men and women who are providing leadership services in the town of Williamston.”