Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie announces retirement after 32 years with department

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie has announced his retirement from the department.

Ritchie began his career in law enforcement back in 1988 as an officer with the North Charleston Police Department and accepted a position with the Mount Pleasant Police Department a year later, eventually working his way up the ranks to become chief.

According to the town, Chief Ritchie served in the United States Air Force as a Security Forces Member before entering civilian law enforcement and worked as a Special Agent with the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations as a reservist.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

“Chief Ritchie developed and instituted the first fully functional Special Weapons and Tactics Team for the Mount Pleasant Police Department,” according to the department’s website. “He introduced and implemented the Emergency Placard System being used in all Charleston County Schools designed to expedite and make more efficient the response to a school crisis.”

In June 2015, Chief Ritchie led a group of about 20,000 (estimated) people on a unity march across the Ravenel Bridge just days after the shooting at Mother Emanuel. The goal was to show solidarity within the community after the tragedy.

Only a few years later, Chief Ritchie and local law enforcement came together with protesters to coordinate another march across the bridge in June 2020 to condemn police brutality and racism, and honor George Floyd, who died at the hands of a former Minnesota police officer.

Ritchie had been an outspoken advocate for protecting the rights of all citizens; his support for his words was shown by his actions, and a moment that was captured in a powerful photo hand-in-hand with a peaceful protester, Gee Jordan, who was arrested during a demonstration in Marion Square in downtown Charleston.

He knelt with Jordan, in what he described as a moment of “two human beings showing each other mutual respect.”

Chief Ritchie, a University of South Carolina graduate, has been an active member in the community outside of his law enforcement role from coaching recreation football teams to being a member of the Church at Life Park.

A leader of the department,

“Serving the Town of Mount Pleasant has been the honor of a lifetime,” said Chief Ritchie. “None of it would have been possible without the department’s steadfast and courageous men and women dedicated to the community they protect. I would like to commend the entire police department for their unequaled commitment to excellence. I am equally grateful for the leadership and support the Mayor, Council and the Town Administrator have shown us throughout the years.” 

Chief Ritchie is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Criminal Justice Leadership from Liberty University. 

The Town of Mount Pleasant said Chief Ritchie will retire on May 7th.