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Lancaster native Mike Oliver knew years ago as a mere teen he wanted to work in law enforcement.
He just didn’t know his love for enforcing the law would lead him to the top of his profession in the Palmetto State.
It has, as Oliver is now commander of the S.C. Highway Patrol after being named to the elite post in December by Leroy Smith, director of the S.C. Department of Public Safety.
“I never dreamed that I would one day be the colonel,” Oliver said. “I’m honored. I know it’s a great responsibility.”
Oliver, 52, has been with the state patrol since 1982 and has experience in field operations, administration, technology and project management.
Oliver was the likely candidate to lead the S.C. Highway Patrol since he had been second-in-command since 2009.
He’s been at the patrol’s headquarters since 2008 when he moved to the office to oversee the telecommunications unit.
Oliver was named the patrol commander and Capt. Chris Williamson the second-in-command.
“I am proud of the depth and experience these men bring to the table,” Smith said. “They have invested their careers in the S.C. Highway Patrol and understand the needs and challenges of our troopers.”
Oliver said his main objective is to continue to make gains in DUI enforcement, a crtical area for the sate patrol.
“Additional manpower will benefit both the troopers in the field by helping lessen the burden and it will make the roads safer when we can concentrate on proactive enforcement rather than being reactive,” Oliver said.
A Boy Scout during his youth when he earned the Eagle Scout Award, Oliver, through an Explorer program, was lured to law enforcement while riding along with a Lancaster County sheriff’s deputy.
The opportunity with the sheriff’s department drew him in and he eventually moved to the state patrol.
He joined the patrol in 1982 and has been there ever since.
His top work was rewarded as he steadily advanced in the ranks to be the top man with the agency.
Oliver might be a little surprised with his new duties, but we’re not.
He’s deserving of the job and knowing the way he works, we know he will continue to be a major asset to the S.C. Highway Patrol.
We salute him for his new role and wish the best in leading the way and keeping our state’s roads as safe as possible.