Myrtle Beach Police Chief retires after city desires ‘new direction’

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Hours before the City of Myrtle Beach announced the retirement of Police Chief Warren Gall, the chief sent an email to his staff explaining “the city intends to pursue a new direction.”

A press release from city officials Saturday morning confirmed the retirement of Chief Gall after 37 years of service with the city. Chief Gall was hailed as a “respected law enforcement professional” in the release, which concluded that with the chief’s retirement, the city “has an opportunity to seek new direction and leadership for the department.”

An email sent by Chief Gall to the staff of the Myrtle Beach Police Department about 12 hours before the press release announced his retirement, said he wanted to let his team know of his departure so they “don’t hear it from the media first.” Chief Gall expresses in his email to staff his thankfulness for their support and professionalism over the past 37 years.

While he doesn’t go into specifics, Chief Gall does seem to brush the surface of the reason for his retirement.

“The City intends to pursue a new direction, so I will respect that decision and step aside,” Chief Gall writes. “I truly believe that when one door closes, another opens. I am looking forward to seeing what is behind Door #2.”

Chief Gall’s retirement comes after the department reported several vacancies and Chief Gall reported in April he feared his officers were leaving for better pay elsewhere. Chief Gall went before Myrtle Beach City Council to ask for help in handling the recent violence that has occurred in the city.

“Ocean Boulevard, in that particular area at night is no longer family friendly,” said Chief Gall during an interview in April. “If it’s the city’s idea and the community’s idea that we want to be a family friendly resort, we’ve got to get back to that.”

Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes says he believes there was a difference of opinion between the city administrator and Chief Gall, but wouldn’t say what those opinions were, and City Administrator John Pedersen declined to comment.

“The city manager made that decision as to if they could not see eye-to-eye then maybe it’s time to address the issues as to where do we go from here,” expresses Mayor Rhodes. “If the chief felt like there was no compromise, then I guess he decided it was time to retire.”

Mayor Rhodes did not want to venture into an area regarding Chief Gall’s actions. When asked if there were responsibilities that Chief Gall had not completed, the mayor had a reserved response.

“I’ll hold that,” says Mayor Rhodes. “As I said, we’ve got a great police department, and we’re going to miss Chief Gall in his retirement. We wish him well.”

Information released by Public Information Office Mark Kruea says Chief Gall will remain on the city’s payroll until November as he has accumulated leave time and there will be a three-month transition period as he leaves.

Assistant Police Chief Amy Prock, a 20 year veteran of the department, will serve as the acting police chief in the interim.

The seasoned chief shows gratitude, encourages his team to trust and embrace their new leader, and mentions all police attention needs to be on keeping the city safe over Memorial Day Weekend, not on his leaving. Chief Gall’s email can be read in full below:

Thursday, May [25], 2017 will mark the end of my 37-year career with the MBPD.  I will join the ranks of those we refer to as “retired”.  I have nothing but praise, admiration, and love for this department and its professional staff.  I tell everyone who will listen that this is the best department in the country.  We are unique, we are leaders in our profession, and we continue to provide the highest level of services despite the tremendous challenges.

The city will release a statement tomorrow.  I cannot reach each of you individually to tell you in person, although that would be my preference.  While this is way too impersonal, it is necessary so that you don’t hear it from the media first.  

The City intends to pursue a new direction, so I will respect that decision and step aside.  I leave with a great sense of pride in this family, a family that has become an important part of my life for 37 years.  I will continue to expect all of you to exceed the standards of service, integrity, and loyalty, because you are Myrtle Beach PD.  

Please give Chief Prock your absolute best effort and unquestionable support.  If she is to take this department to the next level, the best and brightest need to step up and demonstrate the leadership skills that will result in success.

My hope and dream for you all is to be successful, and to be the department everyone else wants to be like “when they grow up”.  

I will pray for your safety and follow your progress from a distance.  I’m a private person in a highly public position, but intend to avoid (as much as possible) the media in the next few days.  The focus needs to be on Memorial Day Weekend and the busy times ahead.  Just know that I’m okay.  I truly believe that when one door closes, another opens.  I am looking forward to seeing what is behind Door #2.  

I’m sure this news will fire up the “haters” out there.  I don’t have time to worry about that, and neither should you.  We have accomplished so much to let a few malcontents and antagonists ruin our department.  I have always preached taking the high road.  It works.

Good luck, be safe and remember that you all have a special place in my heart.  I will always be MBPD!