Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson says a special committee has been formed to search for a police chief.

The five-person panel consists of representatives with law enforcement, public safety and criminal justice experience.

They include former state Deputy Attorney General and attorney Robert Bolchoz, retired FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Brian Lamkin, former state Department of Corrections Director John Ozmint, former Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson and retired Florence Police Chief Anson Shells.

The committee's formation comes seven months after the previous police chief resigned, and Wilson says one reason the search is taking so long is because of an on-going investigation into accusations of corruption at the department.

It frustrates our community,” Wilson says, “and I recognized that and that's why I had to make the decision to move forward...because this kind of unknown never good, not just for the community but for our officers.  We need a permanent police chief.”

Wilson says she's looking for at least seven years experience among applicants for the position.

And she says 13 people have applied for the job so far – all men.