COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announces that Robert G. Woods, IV has been confirmed by the South Carolina Senate on March 16, 2021, to lead the Department of Public Safety. Woods, a 29-year veteran of the SC Highway Patrol, has been in the role as acting director since February 2020. Gov. Henry McMaster nominated him to a full term in December 2020.
“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve my department in this capacity over the past year,” Woods said. “I want to thank Gov. Henry McMaster and the members of the General Assembly who have stood by me through this process and supported my appointment. I have spent 29 years at DPS on the law enforcement side, which I believe has given me a unique perspective.”
“We have already hit the ground running this past year even while dealing with COVID-19. I am fortunate to have a highly motivated group of men and women by my side as we tackle the challenges and opportunities within public safety and strive to fairly and equitably serve our state.”
Woods led SCDPS through a difficult time of transition in 2020, which included the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide civil unrest. Woods has brought stability and introduced forward-thinking policies and procedures geared toward boosting morale and enhancing law enforcement response to the state’s citizens. He has also focused on maximizing resources by strengthening law enforcement partnerships statewide.
The SC Highway Patrol is the largest SCDPS division. The department also includes the State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, and the Immigration Enforcement Unit as well as the Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs.
In addition to his career with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Woods served for two years with the Charleston Police Department. Before his appointment as acting director at SCDPS, he oversaw the Patrol’s Administrative Support section at the rank of Major. Prior to that, he served as commander of the Highway Patrol Emergency Traffic Management Unit. Throughout his career, he was stationed as a Trooper in Spartanburg and Charleston Counties and assigned as a staff instructor to the Highway Patrol Training Unit.
Woods graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from The Citadel in 1988 and completed a Master of Arts Degree in Conflict Resolution at Columbia College in 2002. He also holds the Certified Public Manager credential. He is married to Michelle Woods. He and Michelle reside in Chapin, SC, and are the parents of five children.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame. Our mission is to ensure public safety by protecting and serving the people of South Carolina and its visitors.