South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday she is nominating longtime State Law Enforcement Division veteran Mark Keel to run the agency where he used to serve as second in command.
In a statement to The Associated Press ahead of her official announcement, the governor said Keel's experience and work the past three years as director of the Department of Public Safety shows he is the best pick for the job.
"His leadership and accomplishments there - combined with his many years of exemplary service to SLED - give me no doubt that he is the right SLED chief at the right time," the governor said.
Keel, who also is an attorney, started working at SLED in 1979. He was the state's law enforcement officer of the year in 1990, became the division's captain of tactical operations before being named SLED's chief of staff in 2001 and for a short time was the division's interim chief.
He left SLED in 2008 when Gov. Mark Sanford chose him to run the Public Safety agency amid a trooper scandal.