Gov. McMaster selects nominee for next SCDPS director

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — Gov. McMaster made a cabinet announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia.

McMaster is naming Robert Woods as his nominee for the next director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. He’s been the acting director since February.

Woods is a 29 year veteran of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The Governor’s nomination is subject to the Senate’s approval. They could hold hearing as soon as January.

“Nobody is better suited to lead the South Carolina Department of Public Safety than Mr. Woods, “ said Gov. Henry McMaster. “His proven ability to lead and solve complex problems through innovative policy decisions and public outreach will continue to serve South Carolina well and will help the agency maintain its status as one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country.”

Going forward, Woods plans to strengthen relationships with state and local law enforcement leaders and increase recruitment and retention efforts, according to a release from the governor’s office. 

Before being named acting director at SCDPS, Woods oversaw the Highway Patrol’s Administrative Support section as a Highway Patrol major. Before that, he served as commander of the Highway Patrol Emergency Traffic Management Unit. Woods is a 1988 graduate of The Citadel and holds a master’s degree in Human Relations and Conflict Management from Columbia College. He is also a graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Leadership Institute and holds a Certified Public Manager Credential. 

“Serving as Director of SCDPS was something I would have never imagined during my time with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, but serving this department and my state in an interim director capacity has truly been one of the greatest privileges of my career,” Woods said. “My primary goal has been to stabilize the department and break down any barriers leading to inefficiencies so that our personnel are energized and excited about their jobs and the challenge of serving this state’s citizens with excellence.” 

The governor’s nomination is subject to Senate approval. Woods, 54, is a resident of Lexington County and is married with five children.

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