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Governor Henry McMaster to Reappoint SLED Chief Mark Keel

December 7, 2023

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced his decision to reappoint South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel immediately following Keel's brief 30-day retirement from the agency. Keel notified Gov. McMaster of his intent to retire from the agency in a letter on December 6.

The South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System mandates officers retire for at least 30 consecutive calendar days before returning to covered employment, and is common practice in the law enforcement community. This will allow Keel to receive the retirement benefits he has earned while continuing to lead SLED.

"With over 40 years of law enforcement experience and more than 12 years as the leader of SLED, Chief Keel is widely recognized by the public, elected officials, and the media as the leader of our state's law enforcement community," said Governor McMaster. "Retaining Chief Keel's leadership and law enforcement expertise is a victory for our entire state. He is a true public servant, and I thank him for his willingness to continue serving the people of South Carolina." 

Keel has served as Chief of SLED since July 1, 2011, and was reappointed to serve in the position by Gov. McMaster in 2018. He began his SLED career in 1979 after graduating from Georgia Southern University. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1995 and is a graduate of the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy, the FBI National Academy, and the FBI National Executive Institute. 

"Serving as the Chief of SLED has been the honor of my career," said SLED Chief Mark Keel in his letter. "Being the Chief of SLED is an incredibly humbling experience. I have been blessed to be surrounded by dedicated public servants who every day strive to make South Carolina a safer place to live, work, and raise a family."

Assistant SLED Chief Richard Gregory, who has been with SLED since 1995, will serve as acting chief until Keel's return. Gregory received the 2011 Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the South Carolina Executive Institute. Gregory's full bio can be found here. 

Gregory, 47, has three children and resides in Kershaw County. A headshot of Gregory can be found here.

Keel's nomination will be sent to the Senate for confirmation upon his return, and he will serve a six-year term upon confirmation.