BARNWELL, S.C. (WJBF) – The Barnwell City Police Department is looking for a new chief.

Chief Lamaz Robinson has resigned from the department.

In a letter to the city, Robinson cited a hostile working environment as reason for the resignation.

His last day with the department will be on November 30th, and Assistant Chief Robert Miller will be interim chief of police.

You can read his full letter below:

Dear Mayor Rivera,

I have reached a difficult decision to resign as Chief of Police of the Barnwell Police Department. This has been a very difficult decision because I respect, admire, and enjoy working with BPD’s great men and women. Unfortunately, this resignation is due to a hostile work environment I have been experiencing since I was appointed Chief of Police but has since worsened with the swearing-in of some council members in January 2022 and further. I have been unable to make changes without being highly scrutinized or questioned about my decisions. Like never before, we have a council member (Ron Still) who interferes with investigations of the police department and interjects himself into matters involving police work while trying to cause what I believe to be division among the citizens and police department employees. This same council member (Ron Still) also wants to put political interference into the organization to make his political platform bigger and go against the common practices of modern-day police work. He comes to get reports from the Police Department that don’t involve him at all and try to use his position as a council member to circumvent the process and procedures that are in place for everyone regardless of their status in the community. This same council member (Ron Still) I feel has discriminated against me based on my gender and I say this because he refers to me as “he/she” in an email that was previously sent out on June 8, 2023, which led to the filing of an EEOC complaint against the city among with some other issues. This council member (Ron Still) has caused further problems with my agency and the Sheriff’s Department by promoting negativity among the agency heads by encouraging the Sheriff to do things such as pen letters to the city council and request meetings with the city council without ever talking to me about issues. This type of behavior has made it impossible for me to work under these circumstances. It is my prayer that the next leader will not be put into the same environment that I have been placed in and will be allowed to lead without the interference of any city council members.

I have attempted to do my best to lead BPD to be an impartial and professional agency. Over the past 2+ years, we have reduced crime within the city and strengthened the police force and infrastructure of our department while remaining in line with our budget. It has been my honor for the past 2+ years to serve the City of Barnwell and its citizens. I am proud to have served with the great men and women of the Barnwell Police Department. It is because of their hard work and professionalism that this city today is safer. You have my deepest respect and admiration for the trust you bestowed upon me to lead this department. I will always cherish the friendships and bonds that have been established with co-workers and others within the organizational structure.

I am giving notice to ensure that it gives you time to find a replacement for my position. My official last day will be on November 30, 2023, however, after this day, I will continue to be available on a consulting basis, if need be, until my successor can be appointed. Please be assured that I will do all I can to assist in the smooth transfer of my responsibilities before leaving. I wish you and the City of Barnwell and Barnwell Police Department every good fortune and thank you again for having me as part of your team.

Yours sincerely,

Lamaz S. Robinson