For the first time, an African American is named to head the SC Highway Patrol

A 29-year patrol veteran and first African American named to the post was promoted Friday to lead the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Col. Christopher Williamson, a native of Darlington, succeeds retiring commander, Col. Michael Oliver who served 35 years with the highway patrol.

Williamson joined the patrol in 1988, the Department of Public Safety said in a news release.

He was promoted to captain in Troop 7/Orangeburg in 2003 and transferred to Troop Six/Charleston 6 years later. He moved to state headquarters in 2011 where he managed daily operations of the patrol.

Also announced Friday was the promotion of 35-year-veteran Marc Wright, a native of Gaffney, to the post of deputy commander.

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