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      Florence police chief retires, accepts another position with city

      Anson Shells has retired as chief of the Florence Police Department after 13 years in that position, according to Florence City Manager Drew Griffin.

      Deputy Chief of Police Allen Heidler has been named interim chief.

      Griffin says Shells was nearing mandatory retirement with the city and decided to accept another position with the city as Community Relations Commander.

      He will work to restructure neighborhoods and help lower crime in the city.

      "We are excited about Chief Shells's desire to serve as Community Relations Commander. Obviously, this city has a commitment to neighborhood revitalization. And former Chief Shells brings with him a vast amount of knowledge of problems that blight brings to neighborhoods. He has championed neighborhood revitalization through numerous crime and safety organizations. I think Chief Shells is a perfect fit for this position, "said Mayor Stephen Wukela.

      Griffin says he isn't sure when the city will begin looking for a new chief.

      He says Heidler has more than 30 years experience with the department.