Mount Pleasant Police Chief Harry Sewell today announced plans to retire at the end of December to pursue a calling to the ministry.

Sewell, a 22-year veteran, is the second area police chief to announce retirement plans to recent weeks. He follows North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt, who announced last month that he would step down in January.

“The Town of Mount Pleasant has been an awesome place to work, and I could never express how much I appreciate what the town has done for me and my family, or how much I have enjoyed serving the citizens,” Sewell said in a written statement. “Over the last year or so, I have been getting a strong call to go into the ministry to serve my Lord, Jesus Christ; therefore, I am going to pursue this calling.”

Mayor Billy Swails and others described Sewell as a dedicated, compassionate leaders with a deep faith and a passion for helping others.

“He is a very conscientious, religious man and I think he wants to pursue helping people in other ways,” Swails said. “He’s leaving on top, and he’s young enough to do something else. He will be missed.”

Sewell was named police chief in June 2007 after serving as acting chief, a role he had occupied periodically since September 2004.

Sewell rose through the ranks after joining the department in 1990. Before that, he had a two-year stint in law enforcement with the State Ports Authority.

Mount Pleasant Town Administrator Eric DeMoura praised Sewell for his leadership and said the chief has had “an extraordinary impact on our community.”

“Despite the challenges associated with our immense growth and the nation’s economic downturn, Harry positioned the Mount Pleasant Police Department to be one of the finest in America, as evidenced by our accreditation reports,” DeMoura said in a written statement. “His professionalism and unwavering commitment to serving the citizens of Mount Pleasant is something we are truly thankful for and something we will undoubtedly miss. Harry is a great man and a top-notch police chief – the finest. I am honored to call him my friend. We wish him the best as he pursues the next chapter in his life.”

DeMoura said he plans to discuss Sewell’s replacement with Town Council immediately, indicating that the new chief would likely come from within the department’s ranks.

“I believe that we possess in-house the talent we need to fill Harry’s position and to maintain the department’s long standing tradition of excellence,” he said.

Swails said he shares that belief. “Our police department is full of talented people,” he said.

Check back with for more on this story as it becomes available.