Former Police Chief Blair Shaffer made a statement to the Manning Times at 4:15 on Wednesday in an attempt to put citizen minds at ease.
“According to Mayor Nelson, I was terminated on July 11 at around 5:30 pursuant to the city’s at-will employment policy. I was notified that my appointment with the city was terminated, effective immediately.”
In the City of Manning’s Press Release sent my Mayor Nelson, it was stated “The Safety of our residents, guests, and community is of utmost importance to the City of Manning. Today, following an evaluation of the City’s public safety programs, the Public Safety Committee voted to terminate the employment of Chief Blair Shaffer effective immediately.” It further stated the City felt the termination was in the best interests of the city.
“I took that as there was some type of safety concern, such as a safety issue or a crime issue, in the City of Manning,” said Shaffer. “Back in February, I presented crime statistics to the City at a Council meeting. I researched crime statistics for a ten-year period from 2008 to 2017. I compared the statistics of violent crime and property crime at the end of 2008 prior to me being appointed as police chief and the end of 2017. During that time, violent crimes in Manning have decreased over 38%. Property crimes have decreased over 10%. The overall crime rate has decreased over 14% in the past 10 years.
“Furthermore, the South Carolina Municipal Association gave a task to all municipalities and police departments last year. They came up with the 12 highest areas that cause lawsuits and cost the city the most money. If you’re a member of the Municipality Association, you pay fees to the Association for workers comp and insurance for equipment for the city. There are a lot of things that go into those fees. A lot of agencies were being sued for use of force and other issues.
“The Association wanted all agencies to develop policies and procedures for those 12 areas. Todd Williams with the Association came in February to review all policies and procedures for the Manning Police Department. During the review, he gave us a 100% rating. He praised our department to our city administrator, and the administrator communicated with me about their interaction.
“For it to be stated that there was a public safety issue within the department or the City is misleading. It is important for me to let the citizens of Manning know the city is a safe place to live, a safe place to work. We have a great community with great police officers, and I am proud of the efforts of not only law enforcement but the citizens to keep crime low in Manning.”
Shaffer has procured legal representation and will be moving forward with the grievance process, per the City of Manning policies and procedures.