Jim Newman; Gazette staff writer February 22, 2001, Thursday Copyright 2001 The Beaufort Gazette Beaufort Gazette (South Carolina) February 22, 2001, Thursday
(HARDEEVILLE, S.C.) -- Police chief Wayne Foskey quit his job on Wednesday because he didn't want to send his children to Jasper County schools.
Foskey, who took the post in 1996, gave a letter of resignation to City Administrator Shane Haynes earlier this week.
His last day of work will be March 11. Then he will transfer to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office as a patrol deputy.
He cited the importance of his children's education and the poor state of the Jasper County School District as deciding factors.
"We were fortunate to have Chief Foskey," Haynes said. "He has been a staple of the police force and has done a great job for the city. His department has come a long way as the city has continued to grow."
Two of Foskey's three children attend a private school in Beaufort County. The other is reaching school age, but it would be too costly to send all three to private school, he said.
Foskey and his wife Deborah decided to send all three to public schools, but not in Jasper County.
"Their education is too important to us to put them here," he said. "We still own a home in Beaufort, and Beaufort County has a much better school system.
"They're talking about building new schools (in Jasper) - which is a good start - but that's not the basis of the problem."
Foskey said Jasper County also lacks children's activities found in neighboring Beaufort.
"There's really nothing here for children, unfortunately," he said. "Hopefully, down the line, Jasper will improve, but I don't see anything in the near future."
Foskey's second in command, Capt. James Hubbard, will take over until a replacement is found. Hubbard said Wednesday he hasn't decided whether to apply for the position.
"Me and the chief go a ways back," Hubbard said. "He was my training officer when I first came to work here. He has given me his explanation of why he's leaving. I understand, but I hate to see him go."
Foskey got his start in law enforcement when he came to Hardeeville in 1979 as a patrol officer. In 1981 he moved to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, where he worked his way up to the detective division, eventually becoming Beaufort County's northern division chief of detectives in 1990.
He admitted being torn between the need to seek greater opportunities and leaving behind his home- town of Hardeeville.
Opportunity in a larger organization was his reason for moving to Beaufort in 1981.
"There were a lot of things I wanted to learn that I wouldn't have been able to learn here," he said.
Now his main consideration is his children, he said.
"You have priorities, but you have to put family first," he said.
His 1996 decision to apply for the chief's position in Hardeeville was a no-brainer, he said.
"It was my goal - and it should be every officer's goal - to be the top law enforcement officer of a department someday. That's what I was shooting for."
He said he got a chance to straighten out some of the disorganization that existed in the Hardeeville department in those days.
"When I first came back here, they still seemed to be lagging behind as far as modernization," he said. "There was no rank structure - they were still writing out reports by hand and letting the secretary re-type them."
Foskey said he was proud of the ordinances he has proposed that have been passed by city council. One mandated tighter controls on loitering, to combat problems with drug dealing.
"There's still room for improvement, but we've progressed a lot," he said. "It's a very professional department now. The new chief will have a good group of people that know the job and what to do."