Keel reappointed as SLED chief

  • Barnwell native Mark Keel has been reappointed as SLED chief.

Barnwell native Mark Keel has been reappointed as the state’s top law enforcement chief.

S.C. Governor Henry McMaster announced on Jan. 31 his decision to reappoint South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel. Having first been appointed to the position by Governor Nikki Haley in June 2011, Chief Keel’s distinguished law enforcement career spans over 40 years, according to a press release.

“Chief Keel has served our state with great honor, integrity, and leadership for many years, and there is no one more qualified or more fitting to lead one of our state’s superior law enforcement agencies,” said Gov. McMaster. “I’m proud to reappoint Chief Keel. With leaders like him at the helm, the people of South Carolina can rest assured that our state is in good hands.”

Keel said he is honored that Gov. McMaster reappointed him. “It is an affirmation of the hard work, dedication, and respect achieved by the men and women of SLED, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve as their chief,” he said.

When interviewed in 2011, Keel said he hoped to bring SLED back to its mission of helping sheriffs and police chiefs, especially in rural areas like Barnwell County where manpower and resources are fewer. “They should have an equal opportunity like big counties,” Keel said.

Chief Keel began his career at SLED in 1979 after graduating from Georgia Southern University in 1979 and, while serving with the agency, earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1995. Additionally, he is a graduate of the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy, the FBI National Academy, and the FBI National Executive Institute.

Keel’s nomination has been sent to the Senate for confirmation. He will serve a six-year term.

Keel grew up in Barnwell and is the son of the late Jack and Mary Keel. He and his wife Jeri have two sons, Will and Cody Keel, who recently moved to Barnwell to continue their grandfather’s State Farm agency. Read more about his sons’ new business venture on page 1B of the Feb. 7 print edition.